U.S. Warships to 'Challenge' Russia in Both Eastern, Western Waters

Nellie Chapman
December 7, 2018

Russia's claim is based on a baseline drawn across the mouth of Peter the Great Bay and extending the 12 nautical mile zone out from that baseline.

In a typical rah-rah fashion, the fleet's spokesperson, Lieutenant Rachel McMarr, claimed that the ship sailed there to "challenge Russia's excessive maritime claims".

Through a statement, the Navy said that the maneuver was a way "to challenge Russia's excessive maritime claims and uphold the rights, freedoms and lawful uses of the sea enjoyed by the United States and other nations", NBC News reported.

Korotchenko said Russian Federation would not resort to "silly" attempts to project military power.

Despite the name of the bay, the US does not recognize Russia's claims that exceed the 12 miles out from the coastline that global law provides.

She explained that such 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".

USA officials say such operations are meant to enforce the right of free passage in worldwide waters and to challenge excessive claims.

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The operation on Wednesday follows Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's announcement on Tuesday that the USA would pull out of the INF treaty unless Russian Federation addresses what he called Moscow's "flagrant disregard" of its terms.

The US warship conducted what the Navy refers to as a "Freedom of Navigation Operation".

The Defense Department regularly conducts such "freedom of navigation" exercises, but it usually does so in the South China Sea in challenges to claims by China. USS McCampbell, an Arleigh Bukre-class guided missile destroyer, sailed through part of Peter the Great Bay.

Tensions between Moscow and Washington are on the rise in the wake of apparent Russian aggression in the Sea of Azov, where Russian vessels rammed and fired on Ukrainian vessels before capturing the ships and their crews, and USA plans to withdraw from the Cold War Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a response to Russian violations.

The U.S. has also protested the Russian detention of dozens of Ukrainian sailors transiting through the Kerch Strait last month.

Mr Putin's official spokesman responded by declaring formal talks between the two leaders were now "out of the question".

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