- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Obama administration has lodged a diplomatic complaint with Moscow over Russian fighter jets buzzing a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Baltic Sea, the White House said Thursday.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the U.S. “raised our concerns with the Russians” through a military attaché at the U.S. embassy in Moscow.

He said the Russians’ action was “inconsistent” with a 1972 Incident at Sea treaty that requires military pilots to use “the greatest caution and prudence” in the vicinity of other countries’ forces in peacetime.

Mr. Earnest said lodging a complaint through the U.S. embassy in Moscow is “a routine channel of communication” for such incidents.

“This is the most effective channel,” he said, adding that Russia’s response in such cases “varies by the situation.”

A Defense Department official said two Russian military jets engaged in an “aggressive” overflight maneuver of a U.S. Navy vessel sailing in international waters. The Russian Su-24 jets were not armed, but the flyby was so close that the planes created a “wake in the water” near the USS Donald Cook, according to accounts.

Mr. Earnest said a video of the incident filmed aboard the Cook and broadcast on TV has attracted “more attention than it otherwise would.”


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