US Navy: Russian destroyer almost collided with cruiser in the Philippine Sea

The U.S. Navy on Friday said that a Russian destroyer nearly collided with one of its guided missile cruisers after an “unsafe and unprofessional” approach in the Philippine Sea.

While the USS Chancellorsville was recovering a helicopter “on a steady course and speed,” the Russian ship “maneuvered from behind and to the right of Chancellorsville,” the Navy wrote in a news release.

The Russian ship “accelerated and closed to an unsafe distance of ~50-100 feet,” forcing the U.S. vessel to “execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid collision,” the statement read.

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"We consider Russia's actions during this interaction as unsafe and unprofessional," comments acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanDefense chief calls on European allies to be wary of China's investments, blasts Russia Pentagon chief approves 20 more miles of border wall Why Dave Norquist is the perfect choice for DOD's deputy secretary MORE echoed later in the day.

Shanahan added that the incident will "not deter us from conducting our operations."

"We'll have military-to-military conversations with the Russians, and of course we'll demarche them," he told reporters at the Pentagon prior to meeting with the Greek minister of defense, adding, "To me, safety at the end of the day is the most important."

The Russian Pacific Fleet’s press service released its own account of the incident, saying the U.S. Navy vessel “unexpectedly changed course and crossed the route of Russia's anti-submarine Admiral Vinogradov vessel 50 meters afar" in a “dangerous maneuver,” Radio Free Europe reported.

The incident comes just days after U.S. fighter jets intercepted three Russian jets off the coast of Alaska in two days. 

– Ellen Mitchell contributed reporting

Updated: 2:09 p.m.