Moscow accuses Navy ship of sailing dangerously close to Russian frigate

Moscow accuses Navy ship of sailing dangerously close to Russian frigate

Moscow is accusing a U.S. Navy ship of coming dangerously close to one of its ships, hitting back at the Pentagon’s recent accusations of Russian planes doing the same thing.

"It should be noted that the U.S. Department of Defense has been persistently accusing Russian pilots and sailors of the lack of professionalism,” Russia’s defense ministry said in a statement Tuesday carried by Russian news agencies.

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“However,” it added, “this incident related to the dangerous maneuver of the guided missile destroyer Gravely shows that US Navy sailors allow themselves [to forget] about the fundamental principles of navigation security and [to give] no thought about the consequences this dangerous maneuvering may cause in the areas of intensive shipping."

The ministry alleges the incident happened June 17 in the Mediterranean Sea. The USS Gravely, a guided missile destroyer, allegedly came within 200 to 230 feet of a Russian frigate’s left side and then crossed in front of the bow at a distance of about 600 feet, according to the statement.

The Russian ship was in international waters at the time and “was not making any dangerous maneuver towards the US ship," according to the statement.

The incident violated international agreements that say ships should avoid risk of collision, the statement added.

The Pentagon in recent months has slammed Russian pilots' “unsafe,” “unprofessional” and “aggressive” behavior for flying dangerously close to U.S. ships and planes.

For two days in a row in April, Russian aircraft repeatedly buzzed the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea. A few days later, a Russian aircraft barrel rolled over a U.S. reconnaissance plane in international airspace, also over the Baltic Sea. 

The Gravely has been in the Mediterranean as part of a carrier strike group launching combat sorties in support of the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.