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MOSCOW, April 15. /TASS/. The Kremlin agrees with the Russian Defense Ministry’s assessment of Thursday’s incident with the USS Donald Cook destroyer when Russia’s fighters flew over the vessel, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Friday. "We, me personally in his case, tend to agree with the explanations provided by the Russian Defense Ministry representative," Peskov told journalists.
According to previous reports, two Russian combat planes several times flew over the American USS Donald Cook destroyer in the Baltic Sea. The incidents are "entirely inconsistent with the professional norms of militaries operating in proximity to each other in international waters and international airspace," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said for his part on Thursday that Russia’s Sukhoi Su-24 fighters, having discovered a US destroyer in the Baltic Sea, turned away from the vessel observing all safety measures."On April 13, the crews of the Su-24 aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces were performing scheduled training flights over neutral waters of the Baltic Sea. The Russian planes’ flight route passed through the area where the USS Donald Cook destroyer was sailing, at a distance some 70 km from the Russian naval base," Konashenkov said. "Spotting the ship within the visibility zone, the Russian pilots turned their aircraft away from the vessel fully observing the safety measures," he said.
According to him, "all flights of aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces are performed strictly in accordance with the international regulations on the use of airspace over neutral waters."
The Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said the ministry "frankly speaking, even does not understand the reason for such a painful reaction of our American colleagues." "The principle of freedom of navigation for the US destroyer, which is staying in close proximity to a Russian naval base in the Baltic Sea, does at all not cancel the principle of freedom of flight for Russian aircraft," the official said.