The Tomahawk-capable USS Donald Cook destroyer was caught between two Russian warships shadowing it near the Dardanelles Strait, a military diplomatic source told Russian media on Friday.
The US vessel was said to have left the Strait at about 8 am local time, followed about ten minutes later by Russia's Admiral Essen, a Kalibr-capable frigate normally based in Sevastopol. At the same time, the USS Donald Cook reportedly maneuvered to avoid a collision course with Russia's Admiral Makarov frigate, en route to the Black Sea from the Mediterranean Sea, where it had engaged in military drills off the Syrian coast in January.
Social media users monitored the ships' passage through the narrow strait, posting photos of the close encounter.
Smoking hot pursuit in the Bosphorus. Russian Navy corvette Admiral Essen struggling to keep up with USS Donald Cook southbound. Spotted by @Saturn5_ @YorukIsik @KerimBozkurt @alperboler pic.twitter.com/SeK51ORz4T— Serhat Güvenç (@SerhatGuvenc) 1 марта 2019 г.
The same Smoking hot pursuit in the Bosphorus from another point of view. USS Donald Cook in foreground passing through Istanbul with RFS Admiral Essen in the background. pic.twitter.com/clrwanzLkt— Bosphorus Naval News (@Saturn5_) 1 марта 2019 г.
And here they are in the mid-Bosphorus: pic.twitter.com/NHtGmC2BD5— Yörük Işık (@YorukIsik) 1 марта 2019 г.
In accordance with the 1936 Montreux Convention regulating the Black Sea naval traffic, warships from non-Black Sea powers are forbidden from staying in the body of water for a period of more than 21 days.