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Report: Russian Aircraft Conducted ‘Simulated Attack’ on U.S. Navy Ship

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USS Donald Cook / Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via AP
• April 13, 2016 1:01 pm

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Russian jets conducted "simulated attacks" on a U.S. Navy ship in the Baltic Sea Tuesday, according to reports.

A defense official told the Military Times that a Russian attack aircraft flew within 30 feet of the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea, which led the ship’s commanding officer to call the incident "unsafe and unprofessional."

"This was more aggressive than anything we’ve seen in some time," the defense official stated.

Hours after the initial reports regarding the incident, images and video surfaced on social media allegedly showing the Russian Su-24 fighter jet conducting the "simulated attack" on the U.S. ship.

The U.S. European Command called the incident "unsafe and unprofessional" in a statement later Wednesday.

"We have deep concerns about the unsafe and unprofessional Russian flight maneuvers. These actions have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries, and could result in a miscalculation or accident that could cause serious injury or death," the European Command said.

U.S. officials did not at first officially acknowledged the incident. Pentagon officials were engaged in discussions about releasing videos and photos of the encounter, CNN reported, citing U.S. officials.

The defense official told the Military Times that the overflight could violate a 1973 treaty between the United States and Russia that bars "simulated attacks."

A Russian Ka-27 Helix helicopter made seven overflights of the USS Donald Cook and seemed to be taking photographs before a Russian Su-24 fighter jet entered the area making "very low" overflights Tuesday, the unnamed official said. The jet made 11 passes.

The incident was one of two in which Russian jets have flown aggressively close to U.S. ships in recent days. A Russian Su-24 fighter jet made 20 passes of the USS Donald Cook and flew at an altitude of 100 feet and within 1,000 yards of the ship as it left Gdynia, a Polish port in the Baltic Sea, on Monday.

Several news outlets reported that both encounters involved two Russian Su-24s.

"They were so close they created wakes in the water," CBS quoted a senior defense official as saying of the "simulated attack profile" overflight.

When a Russian Su-24 made a provocative pass of the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea in 2014, the Pentagon decried it as "provocative and unprofessional."

Published under: Russia