'Aggressive' Russians Buzz US Warship

Baltic Sea encounter was one of the most brazen in years
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2016 12:58 AM CDT
'Aggressive' Russians Buzz US Warship
A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft makes a low-altitude pass by the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea.   (US Navy via AP)

In a move that American officials are calling "aggressive," "potentially provocative," "unprofessional," and simply "unsafe," Russian fighter jets and a helicopter buzzed a US warship in international waters Monday and Tuesday. The Guardian reports that US European Command says the encounters were "simulated attacks" on the USS Donald Cook and in the closest approach, a Russian Su-24 came within just 30 feet of the destroyer while it was conducting helicopter landing drills in the Baltic Sea just off the coast of Poland. The Navy says the aircraft didn't respond to safety warnings in English or Russian.

A defense official tells the AP that a pair of Su-24s made around 20 close passes on Monday. On Tuesday, a helicopter taking photos circled seven times, followed by another pair of Su-24s that made almost a dozen passes, the official says. American officials say the Russian encounters count as "one of the most aggressive acts in recent memory," the BBC reports. Reuters notes that the encounters may have violated a Cold War-era agreement banning "simulated attacks against aircraft or ships, performing aerobatics over ships, or dropping hazardous objects near them." US officials say the incident is being addressed from diplomatic channels. There has been no official response from Moscow. (More Russia stories.)

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