Russian Federation and the US Just Had a Tiff in Disputed Waters

The USS John S. Mc Cain carried out a freedom of navigation operation through Peter the Great Bay on Tuesday the Navy said

This 106-nautical mile (nm) closing line is inconsistent with the rules of worldwide law as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention to enclose the waters of a bay.

"The Pacific Fleet's Admiral Vinogradov anti-submarine destroyer used an global communication channel to warn the foreign vessel that such actions were unacceptable and the violator could be driven out of the country's territorial waters in a ramming maneuver".

McCain, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, "asserted navigational rights and freedoms" through a freedom of navigation operation near the Peter the Great Bay in the Sea of Japan, a 7th Fleet statement said.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that USS John S. McCain, which had entered the Sea of Japan (East Sea) several days prior, had breached its maritime border by just over a mile in the Peter the Great Gulf on Tuesday.

This freedom of navigation operation ("FONOP") upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in global law by challenging Russia's excessive maritime claims. "Admiral Vinogradov, which was tracking the U.S. destroyer, warned the foreign vessel, through an global communications channel, of the inadmissibility of such actions and of the potential of resorting to ramming to force the violator out of territorial waters".

The statement pointed out that in 1984, before the end of the Soviet Union, Moscow had claimed straight baselines along its coasts as internal waters, including one that enclosed the Peter the Great Bay.

Such incidents at sea are uncommon and a sign of continued post-Cold War tensions between Russian Federation and the United States.

"McCain conducted this FONOP in accordance with worldwide law and continued to conduct normal operations in global waters", Keiley said. This year, the Navy has sent at least six vessels near contested islands in both seas to challenge Beijing's claims there.

"This freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in worldwide law by challenging Russia's excessive maritime claims", the statement said.

It gave no details of the incident but said the USA ship had been operating in the vicinity of the Peter the Great Gulf in an area the US does not recognize as Russian territorial waters.

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