A U.S. guided-missile destroyer sailed provocatively close to waters claimed by Russia in the Sea of Japan, reports say Wednesday.
The U.S. Pacific Fleet acknowledged the move by the USS McCampbell was a “challenge” to Russia, CNN reported.
The warship “sailed in the vicinity of Peter the Great Bay to challenge Russia’s excessive maritime claims and uphold the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea enjoyed by the United States and other Nations,” fleet spokesperson Navy Lt. Rachel McMarr told CNN in a statement.
The U.S. warship conducted what the Navy refers to as a “Freedom of Navigation Operation,” Lt. McMarr said.
A Navy official told the news outlet the United States does not recognize Russia’s claims on the waters, explaining Moscow lays claim to areas exceeding the 12 miles from the Russian coastline that is guaranteed by international law.
“U.S. Forces operate in the Indo-Pacific region on a daily basis,” Lt. McMarr added.
“These operations demonstrate the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows. That is true in the Sea of Japan, as in other places around the globe,” her statement declared, The Hill reported.
Freedom of navigation operations “are not about any one country, nor are they about current events,” her statement said.
Wednesday’s operation comes amid several recent developments that have ratcheted up U.S.-Russia tensions, according to The Hill — including Russia’s seizure of three Ukrainian navy ships in the Kerch Strait, which promoted President Donald Trump to cancel his planned formal meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Group of 20 summit in Argentina.
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