US commander raps Russia’s ‘old tricks’ in the Baltic Sea

April 13, 2016 7:00 pm

The Navy Blue Angels fly in formation as they pass over the USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) on the Hudson River during the Parade of Ships for the start of Fleet Week May 23, 2012 in New York City.(AFP)

A top US commander has censured for its “old tricks” in the in the Baltic Sea, in reference to flyover of Russian jets near a US Navy destroyer in the sensitive region.
At a daily briefing via satellite on Wednesday, Colonel Steve Warren reacted to earlier allegations by an unidentified US official in regard to the move.
“I hear the Russians are up to their old tricks again in the EUCOM [US European Command] AOR [area of responsibility],” said Warren (pictured below), who serves as the spokesman for the so-called Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) that targets Daesh Takfiris in the Middle East.
Speaking on condition of anonymity to the Associated Press, an official said earlier in the day that once a jet got as close as 30 feet to the USS Donald Cook.
“This was more aggressive than anything we’ve seen in some time,” the official said
According to the report, the move was considered by guided missile destroyer’s commander as “a simulated attack profile” and a “highly unusual maneuver.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest reacted to the move, which he described as “entirely inconsistent with the professional norms of militaries operating in proximity to each other in international waters and international airspace.”
In one occasion on Monday, unarmed Russian Su-24 planes made 20 close passes over the destroyer, coming as close as 1,000 yards at an altitude of about 100 feet, the official claimed.
A Russian KA-26 submarine-hunting helicopter made a similar move Tuesday, circling the Cook seven times, while taking photos.
Later in the day, two Su-24 attack planes buzzed the Cook 11 times, with one approaching it as close as 30 feet.
The US Navy released a video shot onboard the vessel, which allegedly shows the Russian Su-24 planes making repeated passes, a move Washington deems as violation of a 1973 treaty, aimed at avoiding escalation at sea.“The Russian aircraft flew in a simulated attack profile and failed to respond to repeated safety advisories in both English and Russian,” the European Command said in a statement. “We have deep concerns about the unsafe and unprofessional Russian flight manoeuvres. 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.”
Moscow-Washington ties have been in tatters since the Crimean Peninsula rejoined Russia in a referendum in March 2014 and Ukraine commenced a military crackdown on pro-Russia forces fighting for greater autonomy in the Russian-speaking Luhansk and Donetsk regions in the east of the country.
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