- The US and Russia are blaming each other for a close encounter in the Philippine Sea on Friday, when a Russian destroyer nearly collided with a US Navy cruiser.
- The US Navy has backed up its version of events with photos and videos.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
The US Navy caught a Russian destroyer on video as it closed with a US warship, nearly colliding with the American vessel in a dangerous close encounter at sea.
The Russian destroyer DD572, which Russia identified as the Admiral Vinogradov, closed with the US Navy Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville on Friday, putting the sailors on board at risk, US 7th Fleet said in a statement.
The US Navy says the Russian vessel engaged in “unsafe and unprofessional” conduct at sea. Specifically, it “manoeuvred from behind and to the right of Chancellorsville, accelerated, and closed to an unsafe distance of approximately 50-100 feet.”
The Russians are telling a different story, accusing the US Navy of suddenly changing course and cutting across the path of its destroyer. The US Navy has released videos of the incident to back its narrative.
Naval affairs expert Bryan Clark offered some clarity on just how risky this type of situation is, explaining that 50 – 100 feet for a destroyer is comparable to being inches from another car while barreling down the freeway.
“It’s really dangerous,” he told Business Insider. “Unlike a car, a ship doesn’t have brakes. So the only way you can slow down is by throwing it into reverse. It’s going to take time to slow down because the friction of the water is, of course, a lot less than the friction of the road. Your stopping distance is measured in many ship lengths.”
“When someone pulls a manoeuvre like that,” Clark added, “It’s really hard to slow down or stop or manoeuvre quickly to avoid the collision.”
The Russian version of the story is that the US ship is to blame.
“The US guided-missile cruiser Chancellorsville suddenly changed course and cut across the path of the destroyer Admiral Vinogradov coming within 50 meters of the ship,” the Russian Ministry of Defence said in a statement. “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.”
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