A Russian destroyer and a United States Navy guided missile cruiser nearly collided on Friday in the Philippine Sea, and each side blamed the other for what could have been a devastating episode.
The United States Navy said the events took place around 11:45 a.m. local time as a result of an “unsafe and unprofessional” move by the Russian vessel, which came within 50 to 100 feet of the U.S.S. Chancellorsville, according to a statement. The cruiser had to quickly maneuver to avoid a collision, the Navy said.
Cmdr. Clayton Doss, a spokesman for the Seventh Fleet, said in the statement that the Russian destroyer made an “unsafe maneuver” against the U.S.S. Chancellorsville, “putting the safety of her crew and ship at risk.”
Russian state news reports framed the events much differently, with the Pacific Fleet press service telling the state-run news agency Tass that the American vessel had hindered the passage of the Russian destroyer Admiral Vinogradov, forcing it to perform a dangerous maneuver to avoid a collision.
“The U.S. cruiser Chancellorsville suddenly changed its course and crossed the Admiral Vinogradov destroyer’s course some 50 meters away from the ship,” the press service said, according to Tass. “In order to prevent a collision, the Admiral Vinogradov’s crew was forced to conduct an emergency maneuver.”
Commander Doss described the Russian account as “propaganda,” Reuters reported.