Russian and US row after ships ‘within 30 metres of collision’

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Russian and US row after ships 'within 30 metres of collision'

Russia and the US have accused each other of dangerous behaviour after a near miss between two warships.

The US Navy insisted it was the Russians’ fault and that their behaviour had been “unsafe and unprofessional”.

It said the Russian destroyer was travelling behind the US ship when it sped up.

“While operating in the Philippine Sea, a Russian Destroyer… made an unsafe manoeuvre against USS Chancellorsville,” said spokesman Commander Clayton Doss.

“This unsafe action forced Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to manoeuver to avoid collision.”

He said the Russian destroyer had come within 15 to 30m (50 to 100 ft) of the Chancellorsville, and described a Russian assertion that the US ship had acted dangerously as “propaganda”.

Russia, however, blamed the Americans and said it was forced to take emergency action to avoid a collision.

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Its Pacific Fleet said the Chancellorsville, a guided-missile cruiser, had come within 50m (165ft) of its ship, the Admiral Vinogradov.

A statement from the Russian navy said the US ship “suddenly changed course and cut across the path of the destroyer”.

“A protest over the international radio frequency was made to the commanders of the American ship who were warned about the unacceptable nature of such actions,” it said.

The incident is believed to have happened in the early hours of Friday in the eastern part of the East China Sea, when a group of Russian ships was on a parallel course with a US strike group.