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MOSCOW, June 30. /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry is urging the US partners to halt ‘dangerous and unprofessional activity’ after a dangerously close encounter of the US guided missile destroyer Gravely with the Russian frigate Yaroslav Mudry in the Mediterranean, the ministry said in a statement obtained by TASS on Thursday.
"We’re urging our American partners to halt dangerous and unprofessional activity, and also strictly comply with the norms of international law to exclude such situations in the future," the statement said.
The US Navy command earlier blamed the Russian frigate Yaroslav Mudry for the dangerous encounter in the Mediterranean.
"We believe that the US version of the incident, including the mention of an ostensible ‘threat’ from a Russian naval ship to the US aircraft carrier The Gary Truman, is a feeble attempt to excuse the unprofessionalism of The Gravely’s crew and to put the blame on Russian sailors," the Defense Ministry said.
It was The USS Gravely that got dangerously close to the Yaroslav Mudry patrol ship and not the other way round, it said.
"All claims to the effect The Yaroslav Mudry was trying to interfere with the operation the USS Gary Truman was involved in are unprofessional. The Russian patrol ship was more than five nautical miles away and its actions could not affect the US aircraft carrier’s maneuvers in any way," the Russian Defense Ministry said.
In that particular situation the international rules required the US sailors should give way to The Yaroslav Mudry, which was on The USS Gravely’s right (star) side. Also, the destroyer should have by no means crossed the Russian ship’s path ahead of it. By ignoring these requirements and also the 1972 bilateral agreement on the prevention of maritime incidents The USS Gravely’s captain created real prerequisites for collision, the Defense Ministry said.
"In that situation the crew of The Yaroslav Mudry patrol ship responded to dangerous actions by the US destroyer and took the necessary measures to avoid a collision," the ministry said.
"We are addressing our US partners with a call for ending dangerous and unprofessional activity and also to strictly observe international law for preventing such situations in the future," the Defense Ministry said.
The incident occurred in the Eastern Mediterranean back on June 17, and on June 28 the Russian Defense Ministry made it public. It said the USS Gravely got to the Yaroslav Mudry’s portside as close as 60-70 meters and crossed its path just 180 meters ahead. The Russian ministry said that the Russian ship had not performed any dangerous maneuvers. The United States claimed that in that situation The Yaroslav Mudry’s crew acted in an unsafe and unprofessional way.