Two Russian jets flew extremely close to a U.S. warship called the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea on Monday, April 11. The following day, a second incident occurred when two Russian helicopters circled above the USS Donald Cook and apparently took several pictures. Two more jets made multiple close passes of the Navy destroyer, stated CBS news.
The crew on the ship tried to contact the Russian pilots, but they did not respond, according to ABC News. “We have deep concerns about the unsafe and unprofessional Russian flight maneuvers,” said the U.S. European Command in a statement, according to CBS News.
A U.S. official stated, “They [the jets] were so close they created wakes in the water,” according to CBS News. Furthermore, the U.S. European Command statement said, “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,” stated CBS News.
It is not the first time that something like this has happened. In 2014, there were also reports on a Russian fighter making low-level passes for over an hour near a U.S. ballistic missile defense in the Black Sea. This time the Russians also did not respond to the attempts at radio communications, reported USNI News.
The Telegraph mentioned that an agreement was made in the ‘70s, which Russians no longer take into account, that is supposed to prevent these types of incidents from happening.
The Russian Air Force is trying to push the boundaries of the defenses of NATO countries and compared the current situation to some of the more treacherous situations during the Cold War, The Telegraph reported.
The Telegraph continued also reported that if Russian airplanes are trying to challenge NATO air defenses, they automatically fail to follow up with the safety procedures that come along with preventing accidents to happen with civilian airplanes.
The NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, has stated numerous warnings that this kind of behavior makes for a serious safety treat, said the Telegraph.
The statement from the U.S. European Command also mentioned that, “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,” according to The Telegraph.
The U.S. Navy ship was in international waters during the encounters. The Russian air force has been testing its boundaries in the past few years with various nations, said NBC News.
“We have seen a pattern on the part of the Russians of undertaking these kinds of actions that we think that that they intend to be provocative,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest, according to NBC News.
The U.S. has since formally protested these actions by the Russian government, according to CNN. The White House made Moscow aware of their concerns with the provocative actions from the Russian jets.
Editor’s Note: Information from NBC News, The Telegraph, CBS News, ABC News and USNI News was used in this report.