Warships from US and Russia Have Close Encounter

Warships from US and Russia Have Close Encounter

Warships from US and Russia Have Close Encounter

“Trump is Putin’s Puppet!” How do those who mouth this silliness explain the near miss between Russian and US warships on Friday? And that it looks like the Russians were the ones doing the provoking?

The incident occurred in the Pacific, when the USS Chancellorsville and a Russian destroyer came between 50 and 165 feet of each other. The discrepancy in the distance comes, of course, from differing reports from both sides. Who ya gonna believe? The Yanks or the Russkies?

The US Navy released a video of the encounter between the warships, and reported that the incident occurred when the Chancellorsville was recovering its onboard helicopter. The Russian destroyer then approached, forcing Chancellorsville to reverse its engines.

warships uss chancellorsville

USS Chancellorsville. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/public domain.

The Navy’s 7th Fleet said in a statement:

“We consider Russia’s actions during this interaction as unsafe and unprofessional and not in accordance with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), ‘Rules of the Road,’ and internationally recognized maritime customs.”

It’s not like there isn’t enough room in the Pacific for the Russians to avoid this encounter.

This video shows how close the warships came to each other. You can even see the Russians sunning themselves on the deck of their ship.

Furthermore, this isn’t the only time Russia and the United States have recently bumped heads. On May 20, four Russian bombers and two fighters entered Alaska’s air defense zone, where two pairs of US F-22 fighters intercepted them. What’s more, on June 4 a Russian fighter flew in front of a US P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane over the Mediterranean, an action the US 6th Fleet called “irresponsible.”

Why are these events happening now? Is it because China and Russia are now becoming BFFs?

On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Kremlin, where Xi met his “best and bosom friend” Putin.

Oh, and guess which other country’s warships have had close encounters with ours. Yep, China. In October, 2018, a Chinese destroyer closed on the destroyer USS Decatur in the South China Sea. According to the Navy, the Chinese vessel came with 45 yards of the Decatur‘s bow before the American boat veered off to avoid a collision. The Chinese claimed that they didn’t like the US “around China’s islands and reefs.” The US Pacific fleet claimed the Decatur was sailing in international waters.

Yes, China is flexing its muscle in the South China Sea. And, not to be outdone, perhaps Russia is now joining in.

Word to Joe Biden, who said that “China is not competition for us.” Yes, it is. And so is Russia, who’s now China’s BFF. China wants to eat our lunch both militarily and economically. Russia wants to ride China’s coattails in humiliating the US. So Putin sends a warship to play chicken with our destroyer.

Tell me again how Trump is Putin’s puppet.


Featured image: Jordan Meeter @ flickr/cropped/CC BY-NC 2.0.

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

  • ROBERT SYKES says:

    Photos taken by an American helicopter clearly show that the Russian ship had right of way, and that the Russian ship maneuvered to avoid a collision. Yet another example of widespread incompetence in the officer corps of the 7th Fleet.

    • Kim Hirsch says:

      That you Bob? It’s been a while since you’ve been here spewing your anti-American Putin love.
      Welcome back!

      • ROBERT SYKES says:

        Yes. Thank you. Autofill has taken over. I am Bob.

        The US 7th Fleet has a problem with deck officers mishandling ships. CINCPAC needs to address this issue now while we are at peace. If war breaks and this incompetence continues, we will get our a**es handed to us.

        I don’t think wanting a better Navy is Putin love. I do, however, think Putin is the best statesman of our time. He is a Russian patriot, and he has rescued Russia from the chaos Gorbachev and Yeltsin created. I wish we had some patriots besides Trump. But every single Democrat and Republic in Congress is a traitor and deserves to be hanged.

        • Kim Hirsch says:

          “I do, however, think Putin is the best statesman of our time.”

          So said many high society Europeans of a certain mustachioed German in the 1930’s. And you deny that you love Putin?

          “But every single Democrat and Republic in Congress is a traitor and deserves to be hanged.”

          You said that about General Mattis a couple of months ago, too.

          Get help.

    • George V says:

      There is one picture I saw of the Russian ship approaching from the US destroyer’s starboard side, which would, absent other factors, give the RUS ship the right of way. But, we don’t know if the RUS ship maneuvered to force the close approach which would make his intentions unknown to the burdened ship (the ship without right-of-way). The ship with right of way is required to maintain course and speed so the burdened vessel can make a definite maneuver to avoid collision. Adding further complexity, the US ship is conducting flight operations which may give it additional rights, particularly if it is maintaining course & speed and the RUS ship was changing course and/or speed as it approached.

  • GWB says:

    How do those who mouth this silliness explain the near miss between Russian and US warships on Friday?
    Easy! They were trying to kiss!
    (The long range shot I saw showed them close enough to do an UNREP – underway replenishment. Which is a REALLY friggin’ sporty thing to do, btw! Two ships in that close of proximity is dangerous!)

    Me? I would have sounded the collision alarm, gone to general quarters, and fired a round through their antenna structure if they didn’t immediately maneuver away. (And the same for that Chinese ship.)

    Russia, who’s now China’s BFF
    Meh. It’s an on-again-off-agin relationship. They’ll kiss up to each other for a while. Then we’ll be back to teetering on the brink of another Sino-Soviet War. Then they’ll be kissing again. Theirs is a passive-aggressive relationship – founded almost entirely around a desire to beat US.

    Also, if I had been president during the years China was building stuff in the Philippine Sea, *I* would have simply sent out the Seabees. They’d wake up one morning to Seabees unloading on the other side of the same little reef. Our guys would be friendly, but would simply start building a helicopter pad and a couple of quonset huts and putting up some antennas. That would get some Chinese undies in a bunch for sure!

    • Kim Hirsch says:

      It may be an on-again, off-again bromance, but right now Russia is playing Grover Dill to China’s Scut Farkus. Which is why they’ve played chicken with us in the Mediterranean and in the South China Sea.

  • If we want the Russians to behave, on next encounter — air or sea — shoot them. Not warning shots, but rounds into them. Russians tend to believe gestures are weakness, for you wouldn’t make idle gestures if you could hurt your opponent. Hitting them needn’t take out the offending aircraft or ship, but if it does, that’s on them. Russians will have a fit, but they will also start behaving. They fear war, possibly more than anyone else in the world, and one can’t blame them.

    GWB’s Seabees proposal is a very good idea too.

    • Kim Hirsch says:

      I also like your idea, but my son-in-law, who serves as a Lt. Cdr. in the Pacific, recently told me there is a fine line as to an appropriate response to aggressive maneuvers. It’s very tricky. I’ll take his word for it.
      For what it’s worth, he’s also alarmed about China’s aggressions, and told me that those who ignore China are “foolish” and “short-sighted.”
      Thank you. Always appreciate your responses.

      • GWB says:

        That “fine line” is why shooting them may be the right (if scary) answer. It tells them they have crossed over that line and they should back WAY off from it.

        Heck, on a Med trip, it was the ship’s helicopter descending directly into the way of the large yacht and aiming its door guns at the bridge that finally got that guy to veer off. (He didn’t have right-of-way, AND his maneuver was a potential threat to the ship. Of course, that was also within a couple of years after 9/11.)

      • Charles N. Steele says:

        Yes. I always remember that it’s easy for me to recommend things since there are no consequences. If I were President or a ship commander it would be a bit different. My real point: Russians understand strength in an opponent and see forbearance and gestures of good will as weakness.

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