The tensions with Russia have been ratcheted up even further after the U.S. military said one of the nation’s fighter planes spent more than 90 minutes flying very close to the USS Donald Cook. The Associated Press reports (via ABC News and others) that the Russian Fencer het passed within 1,000 yards of the ship at only 500 feet above sea level.
Commanders issue warnings to Russia’s jets
Commanders on the ship saw the close flights as being not consistent with U.S. agreements with Moscow. As a result, they issued a number of warnings and queries over the radio. Officials do say that it doesn’t look like the fighter jet was armed and wasn’t in danger of actually touching the ship. The air passes happened during the early evening hours on Saturday but ended without incident.
The same military official also told the Associated Press that a ship from the Russian navy has been following the same U.S. warship very closely. The frigate reportedly has remained within visual distance but just far enough away to not be considered unsafe.
UN peacekeeping troops requested
The U.S. military deployed the USS Donald Cook to the Black Sea on April 10 after Russia invaded Crimea. Officials say the ship has been running routine operations in the waters to Romania’s east. Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov of Ukraine called for the United Nations to send peacekeeping troops into the eastern part of Ukraine. Insurgents who support Russia’s takeover of Crimea have taken over buildings in approximately 10 cities in the region. They demand closer ties with Moscow and greater autonomy from the Ukrainian government.
Western nations have accused Russia of causing the unrest in Crimea. Today officials from the European Union plan to meet to discuss more sanctions against officials from Russia because the nation claims to have annexed Crimea. The West does not recognize the annexation. Officials have been discussing the next step to take in sanctions for some time.