The US and Russian navies sniped at each other after a near collision between warships in the Philippine Sea on Friday.
The US 7th Fleet in a statement called the Russian ship’s actions “unsafe and unprofessional,” while the Russian Pacific Fleet said the US vessel’s moves were “unacceptable,” according to state news agency TASS. The tiff happened on the same day Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the US for trying to “impose its jurisdiction across the entire world.”
The incident underscores rising tensions between global superpowers as President Donald Trump threatens increased tariffs on Chinese goods and amid threats of sanctions to derail the construction of the Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to Europe. Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping both lashed out at US global dominance at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.
The US is attempting to “impose its jurisdiction across the entire world,” Putin said. This is pushing the world on a “path to permanent conflicts, trade wars, and maybe not only trade ones,” he said.
Videos posted to the US 7th Fleet’s website on Friday show the two ships, guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville and anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Vinogradov, sailing dangerously close to each other. According to the U.S., the cruiser was on a steady course waiting for a helicopter to land when the Russian ship accelerated from behind and steered to within 50-100 feet, putting the vessels and crews at risk.
Russia’s Pacific Fleet said the Chancellorsville suddenly changed course and crossed the destroyer’s path, forcing it to perform a dangerous maneuver to avoid a collision, according to a state news agency report.
The Russian military accused the Chancellorsville of making a dangerous maneuver by crossing the path of the destroyer Admiral Vinogradov, forcing the crew to make a quick maneuver to avoid colliding, according to the Associated Press.
US warships prompted outcry from China in February when two vessels attempted to assert free navigation rights in the disputed South China Sea and were warned off by the Chinese Navy, China’s foreign ministry said at the time. China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe last week blamed other countries for looking to “flex muscles” by bringing ships into the sea.
The Philippine Sea is east of the South China Sea, on the other side of the Philippine islands. No one was injured in Friday’s incident and the US Navy wasn’t aware of any damage to the ship, according to the Associated Press.