US officials have been harping on about an incident in the Baltic Sea for a solid week, claiming Russia was “unprofessional” when its warplanes came within 30 feet of a US warship, the USS Donald Cook.
Russian officials today insisted they aren’t happy with the incident either, noting that the US parked the destroyer at the fringe of Russia’s territorial water around the exclave of Kaliningrad, in what they believe was an attempt at “intimidation.”
Indeed, the whole incident boils down to the US parking the ship in a clearly provocative place and acting “shocked” when Russia sent planes to see why the US parked the ship there. That it came just a week before the NATO meeting with Russia, the first time in 2 years, suggests it was deliberately timed to give the US something to complain about at the NATO meet.
US officials insist the Donald Cook was on “routine patrols” at the time, but there is no indication that the ship was moving, but rather just sitting in international waters. Secretary of State John Kerry went so far as to say the US would have every right to shoot down the visibly unarmed Russian planes for daring to get close.