A Russian attack plane performed multiple passes near an American warship in the Black Sea.
The aircraft, reportedly a Russian Air Force Su-24 Fencer, flew within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook, the U.S. Navy destroyer currently operating in the Black Sea. According to the Associated Press, the Fencer flew at 500 feet ASL (Above Sea Level) and performed passes that the ship commander considered “provocative and inconsistent with international agreements.”
The ship, that has been operating in the Black Sea since Apr. 10, issued several radio calls and warnings to the Fencer, that was unarmed and was never in real danger of coming in contact with the ship.
Noteworthy, the U.S. warship was also being shadowed by a Russian Navy frigate, but this is just routine during operations conducted in international waters east of Romania.
Such close encounters are quite frequent is seas around the world. Some years ago a pair of Tu-95 Bear flew quite close to USS Nimitz in the Pacific. For sure, when this happens in the Black Sea and amid raising tensions following the Russian invasion of Crimea, the episode assumes a completely different meaning.