Russian jets make 'provocative' moves near US Navy destroyer

Two Russian fighter jets made “provocative” moves near a U.S. Navy destroyer in the western Black Sea on Saturday morning, a Pentagon official said Monday.


The Su-24 jets were unarmed, though one made "numerous close-range, low-altitude passes" near the USS Donald Cook, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said.

Warren would not specify how close the Russian fighter got to the U.S destroyer but said, "It was close enough to be provocative and unprofessional."

The jet made as many as 12 passes by the ship, but did not pass over its deck, Warren said. The Associated Press said the jet came within 1,000 yards of the destroyer.

The USS Donald Cook, which arrived in the Black Sea last week, made several attempts to contact the pilots with no response. The episode lasted 90 minutes, Warren said.

Warren would not specify whether sailors onboard went to their battle stations, but he added that the Cook "remains prepared to defend herself."

According to Navy spokesman Cmdr. Ryan Perry, the Navy operates in the Black Sea "regularly and routinely," though Warren said there had never been an incident of this type before.

The Cook is currently docked for a visit at a Constanta, Romania, port in the western Black Sea. 

So far, U.S. and Russian defense officials have not discussed the incident, Warren said.