Pentagon Expects Russia to Discourage Flyovers of US Ships Going Forward

© REUTERS / US Navy/Handout via ReutersAn undated US Navy picture shows what appears to be a Russian Sukhoi SU-24 attack aircraft making a very low pass close to the U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea.
An undated US Navy picture shows what appears to be a Russian Sukhoi SU-24 attack aircraft making a very low pass close to the U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea. - Sputnik International
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The US military expects Russian senior leaders to discourage the country’s military pilots from conducting dangerous flyovers of American ships because it can lead to a confrontation, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said in testimony at the US Senate on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Earlier this month, Russian Su-24 Fencer tactical bombers flew close to the US destroyer Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the bombers swerved away from the US warship once it was identified.

"We do expect that [flyovers] to be discouraged from higher up from now on," Carter stated. "These pilots need to get the word… [that] this is unprofessional, this is dangerous, this can lead somewhere."

An undated US Navy picture shows what appears to be a Russian Sukhoi SU-24 attack aircraft making a very low pass close to the U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea. - Sputnik International
US Reaction to Donald Cook Fiasco Should Be: 'What Were We Doing There?'
Russian planes flying close to US warships create a situation that is inherently dangerous because the ship has a responsibility to react to defend itself, Carter said.

"There is a real risk there because that ship captain has a responsibility to defend that ship," Carter told the US Senate when asked about the likelihood of an incident occuring when Russian jets fly too close to US vessels. "That creates in circumstances like this an inherent danger."

Carter said he could not speculate on whether orders to "buzz" US warships came down from the Russian senior leadership.

The US European Command (EUCOM) said the Russian jets flew in a manner that resembled an attack and ignored safety advisories.

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