In first under Trump, Russian jets buzz US destroyer

A US Navy photo of Russian jets buzzing USS Donald Cook in April, 2016

Russian fighter jets flew “dangerously close” to the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Porter in the Black Sea in what was the first incident of this kind since the new U.S. president was sworn in.

Russian aircraft performed three “unprofessional and unsafe” approaches at the USS Porter in a single day on February 10, U.S. officials said.

The aircraft did not have their transponders turned on and did not respond to radio contacts.

While the February 10 incidents were deemed unprofessional with one of the jets coming as close as 200 yards, officials said they were incomparable with the last year’s incident in the Baltic Sea that involved USS Donald Cook.

During the incident from April 2016, Russian aircraft flew within meters of the US Navy destroyer whose crew filmed the daredevil flybys.

The USS Porter incident from February 10 is just one of the ways POTUS Donald Trump is being tested by Russia. Several media reports say a Russian Navy spy ship, the SSV-175 Viktor Leonov. was sailing near the U.S. coast having earlier departed Cuba. The ship is staying in international waters off the east coast of U.S. and was not a reason for concern, U.S. officials said.

What is more concerning is Russia’s deployment of the SSC-8 cruise missile inside Russia, a move which U.S. officials described as a violation of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

The missile deployment was first reported by the New York Times who wrote that Russia now has two battalions of the cruise missile deployed. The Obama administration hoped to dissuade Russia from developing the missile but did not succeed in doing so as the missile is now considered to be fully operational.

 

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