USA destroyer CLASHES with four Russian warplanes in Black Sea

Geneva Matthews
February 16, 2017

The US Defense Department had earlier claimed that several Russian jets buzzed a US Navy ship three times on February 10 - the last day of a ten-day maritime drill by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in the Black Sea near Russia.

One of the incidents, the USA official said, involved two supersonic Su-24 attack jets.

Four Russian military aircraft conducted low passes against a US destroyer in the Black Sea last week, the first such military provocation since the new Trump administration took office.

First two Russian Su-24 jet fighters followed by a single Su-24 and, in a third incident, an IL-38 transport aircraft, all flew over in the ship on February 10. Russian officials denied that they had done anything aggressive but still criticized the presence of U.S. ships in the sea, indicating that U.S. -Russia military tension is continuing even under the U.S.'s new, ostensibly Russia-friendly, leadership.

Konashenkov said all Russian "flights were conducted and are being conducted over the neutral waters of the Black Sea in accordance with worldwide rules and safety requirements".

'Such incidents are concerning because they can result in accident or miscalculation, ' he said referring to actions that could spark an unintended shootout by military forces.

But Captain Danny Hernandez, a spokesman for U.S. European Command, cited three separate incidents involving Russian aircraft and the USS Porter.

The incidents involving the Su-24 were considered to be unsafe and unprofessional by the commanding officer of the Porter due to their high speed and low altitude, while the IL-38 flew at an unusually low altitude, Hernandez said.

In 2016, asked about a Russian fighter jet barrel-rolling next to a United States ship, Donald Trump suggested the Navy has "gotta shoot" if Vladimir Putin ignored calls to stop. Overall 16 warships, one submarine, and ten aircraft took part in the drills.

That followed Russian aircraft repeatedly buzzing the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea and a Russian aircraft barrel-rolling over a USA reconnaissance plane in global airspace over the same area, both in April. Judging by the videos released by the US Navy at the time, the sailors aboard the USS Donald Cook were unperturbed by the Russian aerobatic skills and instead gathered on the top deck of the destroyer to watch and comment on the Su-24's maneuvers. Porter left the Black Sea on February 11.

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