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Friday, 15 April 2016 - 15:18
Russia Denies Breaking Rules Over Low Pass Of US Destroyer
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Russia says it observed all required safety measures when its aircraft flew close to a US warship in international waters of the Baltic Sea on Monday.

According to Russia's defence ministry, the Su-24 fighter jets "turned away in observance of all safety measures" after observing the USS Donald Cook.

The ship was sailing close to a Russian navy base, the ministry said.

Russia was criticised over the flybys, which a US official called "one of the most aggressive acts in recent memory".

The two Russian jets flew over the US destroyer almost a dozen times, American officials said.

At one point the jets were so close - about 9m (30ft) - that they created wakes in the water around the ship.

The jets had no visible weaponry and the ship took no action.

The Russian defence ministry said: "After spotting the ship, Russian pilots turned away from it in full compliance with safety measures.

"All flights of the Russian aircraft are in strict compliance with international rules of the use of air space above neutral waters."

The commander of the Donald Cook described the flights as a "simulated attack".

The passes were "unsafe, potentially provocative" and "could have caused an accident," officials said in a release.

The actions of the Russian jets may have violated a 1970s agreement meant to prevent dangerous incidents at sea, but it is not clear whether the US is going to protest.

A Russian helicopter taking pictures also passed by the ship seven times.

These close encounters of a military kind between the US and its allies and Russia have escalated significantly over the past two years, ever since Russia's annexation of Crimea and the substantial break down of relations between East and West., foreign media reports.

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