USA destroyer challenges Russian claims in Sea of Japan

Remigio Civitarese
Dicembre 6, 2018

In a typical rah-rah fashion, the fleet's spokesperson, Lieutenant Rachel McMarr, claimed that the ship sailed there to "challenge Russia's excessive maritime claims".

Equipped with Tomahawk missiles, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer sailed "in the vicinity" of Russian territory in the Sea of Japan to "uphold the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea", the US Navy said.

Russian Federation played down the incident, which a US official told CNN took place Wednesday and was the first time the American navy had carried out a "freedom of navigation operation" in that area since the Soviet era in 1987.

The U.S. Navy is also preparing to send a warship into the Black Sea for the first time in a month to shore up support to Ukraine after Russian forces seized three Ukrainian vessels and 24 sailors aboard on November 25.

Despite the name of the bay, the USA does not recognize Russia's claims that exceed the 12 miles out from the coastline that worldwide law provides.

She explained that such operations "demonstrate the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever global law allows".

The McCampbell's operation comes at a time of heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington. "That is true in the Sea of Japan, as in other places around the globe".

Relations have turned particularly sour after United States president Donald Trump threatened to pull out of the Soviet-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

The operation comes as the United States and Russia are clashing over a variety of issues, including USA accusations that Russia has violated terms of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, and US complaints over recent Russian operations near Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded, saying that if the USA were to exit the treaty and build such missiles that Moscow would follow suit.

The move was a response to last month's incident between Russian coast guard ships and Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait, an unnamed source told CNN.

CNN reported that the Pentagon had asked the State Department to inform Turkey that it planned to send a warship to the Black Sea.

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