‘Reckless and irresponsible’: Tense footage shows U.S. & Russia warships nearly collide, both sides point blame

Two warships have nearly collided at sea, one from the United States and the other from Russia. Harrowing footage has been released of the close-call, but the origins of it are unknown. Russian officials have blamed the United States for the ships nearly colliding, while the United States has pointed the finger at Russia.

Russia’s Pacific Fleet has said that the USS Chancellorsville crossed just 50m (160ft) in front of their destroyer Admiral Vinogradov on Wednesday morning. The official statement on the incident reads that the Russian destroyer was forced to make “emergency maneuvering” to avoid the ship from the United States crashing into them.

(Screenshot: @dave_brown24)

U.S. officials are meanwhile saying it is Russian forces that put lives at risk.

US Seventh Fleet Commander Clayton Doss called Russians involved in the accident “unsafe and unprofessional.” He said the Russian destroyer “made an unsafe maneuver against USS Chancellorsville.” Doss said the Russians claiming that the U.S. ship was unsafe is them spreading “propaganda.”

U.S. officials say that Admiral Vinogradov came within 50 to 100 feet (15m-30m) of USS Chancellorsville in the Philippine Sea. The Russian Pacific Fleet says the incident took place in the southeast of the East China Sea.

United States Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters that the United States will launch formal complaints about the incident.

“We’ll have military-to-military conversations with the Russians, and of course we’ll demarche them,” he said. “Demarche” is a formal diplomatic complaint in Russia.

Partial footage of the incident has begun going viral online. In it you can see the Russian destroyer get uncomfortably close to USS Chancellorsville. The U.S. ship reportedly had to pull all of its engines back in order to avoid a complete collision.

Check out footage of the incident below:

Since the incident, more military officials have come forward to condemn actions by the Russian military.

Admiral James Stavridis (Ret), former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, spoke with Fox News host Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Radio about the near-crash. Stavridis said Russia needs to take the United States more seriously for incidents like the close-call with the warships to stop.

“The Russians need to understand we are willing to pull the trigger if we have to. That is the only way to stop this,” he told Kilmeade.

He added that Russia is “feeling their oats with their new big brother China.”

Adm. John Richardson, the 31st Chief of Naval Operations, tweeted that the captain of the Russian destroyer was “reckless and irresponsible.”

“The behavior by the Captain of the Russian destroyer in the Philippine Sea was irresponsible and reckless. This unwise maneuver, combined with the unsafe maneuvers by the Russian aircraft in the eastern Mediterranean earlier this week, make it clear that these dangerous actions by Russian military forces across the globe do not match what the world expects from a responsible and trustworthy world power,” he tweeted.

He then added, “The @USNavy will not be deterred from supporting the free and open use of the seas and skies where international law clearly allows all to operate.”

The admiral also released photos through his Twitter and broke down why the Russian destroyer was in the wrong.


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