Washington – Russian and U.S. warships nearly collided on Friday in the Philippine Sea, with both nations blaming each other for the incident.
The two ships came within 15 to 30 metres of each other in the western section of the Pacific Ocean.
Both sides say they had to perform emergency manoeuvres to avoid a crash.
The U.S. Navy accused the Russian destroyer of having “made an unsafe manoeuvre’’ against a guided-missile cruiser “putting the safety of her crew and ship at risk.’’
The U.S. side insisted its ship was recovering a helicopter and maintained a “steady course and speed’’ when the Russian vessel came from behind.
The Russian side said the U.S. ship had “suddenly changed its course’’ crossing in front of the destroyer and forcing the crew to perform a dangerous manoeuvre to avoid a crash, according to the TASS news agency.
“We consider Russia’s actions during this interaction as unsafe and unprofessional,’’ the U.S. Navy said.
The incident is the latest involving military craft.
U.S. accused Russia of intercepting an aircraft flying over the Mediterranean Sea.
Russia has also flown missions recently off the coast of Alaska, which prompted the scrambling of U.S. aircraft.