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Russian Aircraft Flies Near U.S. Navy Ship in Black Sea

April 16, 2014 at 7:30 AM UTC

By Jim Garamone, From the American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON - A Russian attack aircraft repeatedly flew near the USS Donald Cook in international waters in the Black Sea on April 12, a Pentagon spokesman said today.

By Jim Garamone, From the American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON - A Russian attack aircraft repeatedly flew near the USS Donald Cook in international waters in the Black Sea on April 12, a Pentagon spokesman said today.

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BLACK SEA (April 12, 2014) - The forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) transits the Black Sea. Donald Cook, the first of four Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to be forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is serving on a scheduled patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations as part of the President's European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) to ballistic missile defense in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Edward Guttierrez III/RELEASED) Join the conversation on Twitter follow us on Facebook and while you're at it check us out on Google+

The USS Cook was patrolling in the western Black Sea when an unarmed Russian Su-24 Fencer attack aircraft repeatedly flew near the Navy ship, Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters.

"The aircraft did not respond to multiple queries and warnings from Donald Cook, and the event ended without incident after approximately 90 minutes," Warren said. "This provocative and unprofessional Russian action is inconsistent with international protocols and previous agreements on the professional interaction between our militaries."

Two Russian aircraft were present, but only one took part in the provocative actions, Warren said. The aircraft flew from near sea level to a couple of thousand feet, he added, but never overflew the U.S. Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

"The Russian plane made a total of 12 passes," he said.

The wingman stayed at a considerably higher altitude, Warren said.

Officials later said the aircraft approached within about 1,000 yards of the ship. The USS Cook was never in danger, Warren said.

"The Donald Cook is more than capable of defending itself against two Su-24s," the colonel said.

Warren said he does not think this is an example of a young pilot joyriding. "I would have difficulty believing that two Russian pilots, on their own, would chose to take such an action," he said. "We've seen the Russians conduct themselves unprofessionally and in violation of international norms in Ukraine for several months, and these continued acts of provocation and unprofessionalism do nothing to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine, which we called on the Russians to do."

The Cook arrived in the Black Sea on April 10. The ship is now making a port call in Constanta, Romania.

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