USS McCampbell, U.S. Navy destroyer, challenges Russian Federation in Sea of Japan

Elias Hubbard
December 6, 2018

The US Navy sailed the guided missile destroyer USS McCampbell near contested waters in the Sea of Japan Wednesday, an action that is bound to irk Russian Federation.

The guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell traversed through part of Peter the Great Bay in what the U.S. refers to as a "freedom of navigation operation", according to the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet.

A US Navy official told CNN that the US does not recognize Russia's claims on the waters, saying that Moscow lays claim to areas that far exceed the 12 miles from the Russian coastline that is guaranteed by global law.

A US Navy official said the US does not recognise Russia's claims on the waters.

A spokeswoman for Russia's Foreign Ministry said Russian Federation "scrupulously abides by the provisions of the treaty, and the USA side knows this". "These operations demonstrate the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows. That is true in the Sea of Japan, as in other places around the globe", her statement declared, The Hill reported.

The Navy official said the operation was not meant to single out Russian Federation, but is part of a comprehensive approach by the service to keep worldwide sea lanes open.

While the US Navy conducts such freedom of navigation operations all over the world, they come under increased scrutiny when they are aimed at contesting claims made by Russian Federation and China.

Last week, the US Navy sailed the guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville near contested islands in the South China Sea, an operation that drew an immediate diplomatic protest from Beijing.

The Navy considered the move one of its "freedom of navigation" operations, which are outlined in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that Moscow has ratified, but Washington has not.

The operation comes as the United States and Russia are clashing over a variety of issues, including US accusations that Russia has violated terms of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, and USA complaints over recent Russian operations near Ukraine.

Citing the Black Sea dispute, President Donald Trump last week canceled a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The U.S. has shared intelligence evidence with its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies that it says shows that Russia's new SSC-8 ground-fired cruise missile could give Moscow the ability to launch a nuclear strike in Europe with little or no notice.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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