Russian, US ships ‘almost collide’

MOSCOW: Russia on Friday accused a US naval ship of carrying out a dangerous manoeuvre by sailing within 50 metres of a Russian naval vessel in the East China Sea. The USS Chancellorsville guided-missile cruiser suddenly turned early on Friday while sailing alongside Russia’s Admiral Vinogradov anti-submarine ship, and cut across the course of the Russian vessel, Interfax news agency reported, citing the press service of Russia’s Pacific Fleet. The ships passed at a distance of just 50 metres, the fleet said.

The Russian ship had to carry out an emergency manoeuvre to avoid collision, the navy said, adding that it had sent a message of protest to the US cruiser’s commanders. Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, Russia’s former navy chief of staff, accused the US of “hooliganism” in comments to Interfax news agency. Russia and the US regularly accuse each other of carrying out dangerous naval or aerial manoeuvres. In June 2016, Moscow and Washington traded accusations after their naval ships sailed closely past each other in the eastern Mediterranean. A month later, the US accused Russia of “aggressive” and “erratic” moves by one of its warships in the same waters. — AFP