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On Sunday, the US Navy Sixth Fleet posted a video on Twitter of a Russian Su-24 bomber soaring past the USS Donald Cook. In the video, the jet appeared to be flying not much higher than the deck of the ship.
The USS Donald Cook is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. It has been operating in the Black Sea since January 23 this year, alongside fellow Navy ships the Laramie and USS Porter.
Kyle Raines, a commander for Sixth Fleet, claims the Donald Cook attempted to make contact with the jet twice, but did not receive a response.
He told Newsweek: “The unnecessary proximity of the Russian Su-24’s actions were inconsistent with good airmanship and international norms and standards.
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“The U.S. Sixth Fleet is committed to maintaining freedom of movement within international waters for all nations in the Black Sea.”
The Russian Embassy in the US appeared to dismiss Sixth Fleet’s concerns.
It said on Twitter: “Sixth Fleet draws excessive attention to an alleged low pass of an SU-24 in international waters nearby USS Donald Cook during a so-called routine operation to ensure security.”
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In its own tweet, Sixth Fleet said it operates in the Black Sea “routinely” in order to “reassure NATO allies and partners and ensure security and stability in the region”.
The incident is not the first time the US has criticised Russian aircraft for their manoeuvres.
In August, the US Air Force hit out at a pair of Russian Su-27 pilots after they intercepted a US B-52 bomber.
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In a press release, the US said the two jets were flown in an “unsafe and unprofessional manner,” alleging that they crossed “within 100 feet of the nose of the B-52 multiple times”.
The US said the Russian jet manoeuvres caused turbulence and were “restricting the B-52’s ability to manoeuvre”.
General Jeff Harrigian, a US Air Force commander, added: “While the Russian aircraft were operating in international airspace, they jeopardized the safety of flight of the aircraft involved.”
In addition, in April last year the US Navy claimed a Russian Su-35 fighter jet approached one of its aircraft and pulled off an upside-down move “directly in front” of it.
US Naval Forces Europe-Africa said the Su-35 had conducted “a high-speed, inverted manoeuvre” 25 feet in front of one of its P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft, “which put our pilots and crew at risk”.
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