Kerry: Buzzed Navy Ship Could Have Opened Fire

Kerry: Buzzed Navy Ship Could Have Opened FireKerry: Buzzed Navy Ship Could Have Opened Fire

Secretary of State John Kerry has condemned the recent buzzing of a US Navy ship by Russian jets. Kerry warned the flyover “could have been a shoot-down” under the rules of engagement. The Navy ship buzzed earlier this week in the Baltic Sea by Russian jets could have opened fire under US rules, Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday.

The destroyer USS Donald Cook was sailing in international waters about 70 nautical miles from the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad when it reported that pairs of Russian Su-24 jets made several close-range passes on Monday and Tuesday. The planes were apparently unarmed, but on at least one occasion one of the jets came within an estimated 9 meters of the Cook, Deutsche Welle reported.

“We condemn this kind of behavior. It is reckless. It is provocative. It is dangerous. And under the rules of engagement that could have been a shoot-down,” Kerry said in an interview with CNN Espanol and the “Miami Herald.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s Defense Ministry has rejected US complaints about the flights over the destroyer.

Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Defense Ministry, said Thursday that the pilots of Russian Su-24 jets saw the ship and turned back “while using all measures of precaution.”

“The reason for such an aggrieved reaction from our US colleagues is, frankly speaking, incomprehensible to us,” he said. The incident comes amid military tensions between NATO and Moscow, prompted by the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict in 2014.