Russian jets buzz US Navy destroyer

Russian fighter jets flew provocatively close to a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer in the Baltic Sea multiple times this week.

“We have deep concerns about the unsafe and unprofessional Russian flight maneuvers,” U.S. European Command said Wednesday in a statement. “These actions have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries and could result in a miscalculation or accident that could cause serious injury or death.”


The United States is using diplomatic channels to address the actions while the Navy reviews the incident, the statement added.

In one of the incidents Monday, two Russian Su-24s made numerous, close-range and low-altitude passes while the Cook was conducting landing drills with helicopters, according to the statement.

One of the passes happened while a helicopter was refueling, and operations were suspended until the jets left the area.

On Tuesday, a Russian helicopter circled around the ship seven times at a low altitude, according to the statement. About 40 minutes later, two Su-24s made 11 close-range and low-altitude passes.

“The Russian aircraft flew in a simulated attack profile and failed to respond to repeated safety advisories in both English and Russian,” the statement says. “USS Donald Cook’s commanding officer deemed several of these maneuvers as unsafe and unprofessional.”

European Command also released several videos and photos of the incidents, showing the Russian aircraft extremely close the ship.

The Cook is in the area conducting routine patrols and helicopter flight operations with Poland to “in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe,” according to a Monday posting on the U.S. Navy 6th Fleet’s website.

This week’s incidents are not the first time the Cook has been buzzed by Russian planes. In 2014, two Russian fighter jets made “provocative” moves close to the ship in the Black Sea, the Pentagon said then.

This story was updated at 3:09 p.m.