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Russia Provokes US On The High Seas, Almost Rams US Destroyer

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent

Russian Frigate Yaroslav Mudry repeatedly passed within unsafe distances June 17 of USS Gravely in the Eastern Mediterranean, at one point risking a collision. Russia denied provoking the U.S., alleging the Gravely was the ship at fault.

U.S. officials confirmed to Reuters the Russian frigate “repeatedly crossed the stern of USS Gravely at close proximity” and despite repeated requests to stop “continued to maneuver in close proximity to Gravely.”

“These actions have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries and could result in a miscalculation or accident that results in serious injury or death,” a U.S. official added.

Russian aggression on the high seas is not a new phenomenon, in April 2016, Russia repeatedly buzzed a U.S. destroyer conducting exercises in the Baltic sea. The Russian maneuvers were meant to simulate a bombing run on the U.S. ships in the event of war.  In the wake of the incident U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said “under the rules of engagement that could have been a shoot-down”.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense denied the allegations, despite video evidence, saying the U.S claims were “not consistent with reality.” These incidents are becoming increasingly commonplace at sea and in the air, multiple U.S. officials told Reuters.

The incidents are likely Russian harassment in retaliation for large scale NATO exercises on NATO’s eastern flank, along with NATO announcements of large scale deployments to the Baltic states. NATO Secretary General Jan Stoltenberg called the new deployment of forces “the biggest reinforcement of collective defense since the end of the Cold War.”

Russian harassment is not limited to the sea, since the imposition of crippling U.S. sanctions Russian spies have been hounding U.S diplomats across Europe. In one incident a Russian spy killed an American diplomats dog, in another a spy defecated on a diplomats living room carpet.

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