Dan Lamothe — Washington Post April 13, 2016
Russian attack jets flew “dangerously close” to a U.S. Navy destroyer numerous times in the Baltic Sea this week, according to U.S. officials, continuing a pattern of behavior in the region that the Defense Department has previously decried.
The incidents occurred Monday and Tuesday, with the planes making multiple passes by the USS Donald Cook, a destroyer, while it was traveling in international waters, U.S. European Command officials said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. The organization released videos that show the jets roaring by at a high rate of speed, seemingly no more than a few hundred feet away.
“We have deep concerns about the unsafe and unprofessional Russian flight maneuvers,” European Command said. “These actions have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries, and could result in a miscalculation or accident that could cause serious injury or death. U.S. officials are using existing diplomatic channels to address the interactions, while the incidents are also being reviewed through U.S. Navy channels.”
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) April 13, 2016
The first incident occurred April 11 while the destroyer was carrying out deck landing drills with a military helicopter from Poland. The Russian jets made “numerous, close-range and low-altitude passes” around 3 p.m., one of which deemed unsafe by the Donald Cook’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Charles E. Hampton. As a safety precaution, flight operations were suspending until the Su-24s departed, military officials said.
The following day, a Russian KA-27 Helix helicopter conducted seven circles at low altitude around the American ship about 5 p.m. About 40 minutes later, two Su-24 jets made 11 close-range and low-altitude passes by the ship, flying in “simulated attack profile” while ignoring repeated safety advisories issued by the destroyer in both English and Russian, European Command said.