In a span of two days, the crew of the USS Donald Cook were at the forefront of simulated Russian aggression as Russian fighter jets made passes around the warship. The said activities have been deemed “unsafe and unprofessional.” And as the crew tried to reach the jets in both English and Russian, the only response they had received was silence.
The incident started around 3 p.m. local time on April 11. The Donald Cook was in the middle of conducting some deck landing drills in international waters in the Baltic Sea with an allied military helicopter. Suddenly, two Russian SU-24 jets flew close to the warship. They flew in numerous times at close range as they conducted low altitude passes. During one of these, an allied helicopter was in the middle of refueling on the deck of the warship. The ship’s commanding officer deemed the situation unsafe and as a precaution, the Donald Cook decided to suspend its flight operations until the SU-24s had gone. The following day, however, the warship had another unexpected Russian aircraft in the sky.
On April 12, as the Donald Cook continued to operate in international waters in the Baltic Sea, a Russian KA-27 Helix helicopter flew near the warship at around 5.pm. local. This helicopter reportedly conducted circles at low altitude around the ship, doing seven in total. And just 40 minutes after the Donald Cook encountered the helicopter, two Russian SU-24 jets again made a number of close-range and low altitude passes. This time, they made 11 passes and they were said to have flown in a “simulated attack profile.” The Donald Cook made repeated safety advisories in English and Russian to the Russian aircraft. They got no response.
Commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Adm. Mark Ferguson says the actions of the Russian aircraft were “unprofessional and unsafe.” Moreover, Adm. Ferguson pointed out that the ” USS Donald Cook was operating in a professional manner.”
Following the incident, the U.S. Navy also issued a statement saying, ” We have deep concerns about the unsafe and unprofessional Russian flight maneuvers. These actions have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries, and could result in a miscalculation or accident that could cause serious injury or death.”
Morning News USA has been closely watching the tense relations between U.S. and NATO against Russia. Words about a looming World War 3 has been around since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014. The relationship worsened when Turkey shot down a Russian jet in November 2015. The U.S. has always been a strong NATO ally. The alliance has always followed article 5, which states that an attack to one ally is an attack to all. NATO and U.S. have always been foes of Russia since the Cold War Era.
Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin had also signed a document that formally states the NATO and the United States as threats to Russia. The document entitled “About the Strategy of National Security of Russian Federation” accuses the U.S. and its allies of strategizing to retain their dominance in global affairs. Moreover, Russia believed that this move would put ” political, economical, military and informational pressure” on its country.
Last year, Russia also said that it would put a significant amount of heavy military arsenals in its borders over the Baltic Region, should the U.S. do the same. In fact, Russia said it is ready to meet U.S.’ military arsenal in equal amount. Moreover, according to Reuters, Russia Defense Military Office General Yuri Yakubov also released a statement saying, “If heavy US military equipment, including tanks, artillery batteries and other equipment really does turn up in countries in eastern Europe and the Baltics, that will be the most aggressive step by the Pentagon and NATO since the Cold War.”
Meanwhile, Russia was also very much on the U.S.’ mind when it came to the 2017 fiscal budget. In fact, the budget includes more than $4.3 billion ” for political, economic, public diplomacy, and military support to build resilience and reduce vulnerabilities to Russian aggression among NATO allies and partner states.” Moreover, the U.S. also vowed to “enhance U.S. preparedness to reinforce NATO allies” through the “prepositioning of equipment.”
As for Russia, the Ministry Defense of the Russian Federation has only said that it has recently conducted a combat readiness exercise in the Barents Sea with its anti-submarine forces of the Northern Fleet. The scenario included the detection of a foreign submarine near the territorial waters of Russia. As part of the exercise, a IL-38 aircraft was said to have been deployed.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon and the U.S. Navy have said that diplomatic channels are being utilized to address the recent incident in the Baltic.
Also read: Russia Strategizes For WW3 Against US, NATO