WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States will lodge a formal protest with Russia over a near collision between a US Navy cruiser and a Russian destroyer in the East China Sea, acting US Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan said.
"We’ll have military-to-military conversations with the Russians, and of course we’ll demarche them, but to me, safety at the end of the day is the most important (part)", Shanahan told reporters on the steps of the Pentagon, ahead of a meeting with his Greek counterpart. "It will not deter us from conducting our operations".
The statement comes after the US Seventh Fleet, which is headquartered in Japan, earlier in the day denied accusations made by Russia’s Pacific Fleet regarding a dangerous manoeuvre carried out by a US Navy cruiser near a Russian destroyer in the East China Sea, saying that it was the Russian vessel that had nearly caused a collision between the ships. At the same time, the US Navy claimed that the incident did not take place in the East China Sea, but in the nearby Philippine Sea.
Prior to this, the Russian Pacific Fleet stated that it had voiced a protest over the actions of the US cruiser to the command of the vessel.
The Pacific Fleet said that the USS Chancellorsville had unexpectedly come too close to Russia's large anti-submarine ship the Admiral Vinogradov on Friday morning while they were following parallel courses. The destroyer was forced to carry out an emergency manoeuvre.
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