US Warship Poses Free Navigation 'Challenge' to Russian Federation

SINISTER Igor Korotchenko claims Russian submarines are lurking near the Gulf of Mexico

CNN learned from the U.S. Navy that the United States does not recognize Russia's claims on Sea of Japan waters, noting that Kremlin claims ownership of areas that far exceed the 12 miles from the Russian coastline.

Equipped with Tomahawk missiles, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer sailed "in the vicinity" of Russian territory in the Sea of Japan to "uphold the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea", the US Navy said.

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".

The anti-Russia deployments and preparations by the U.S. Navy come amid heightened stress between Moscow and the West over Russia's seizure of two small Ukrainian military ships, a tugboat, and their crews on November 25.

Russian Federation does not have legitimate claims to the waters 12 nautical miles beyond its coastline under worldwide law, a spokesperson for the US Pacific Fleet said.

The Russian Navy's Pacific Fleet is headquartered in the eastern port city of Vladivostok, located in Peter the Great Bay, the largest gulf in the East Sea/Sea of Japan.

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She explained that such operations "demonstrate the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever global law allows".

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

The US Navy regularly conducts FONOPS in the South China Sea, much to China's displeasure.

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 U.S. Pacific Fleet acknowledged the move by the USS McCampbell was a "challenge" to Russia, CNN reported. It comes amid renewed tensions between the United States and Russian Federation in the Black Sea, where Russian Federation seized multiple Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait last month, and as the two sides trade accusations over the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

Last month, Russian Federation seized three Ukrainian navy ships in the Kerch Strait, which links the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. A spokesman for Putin said in response that a hoped-for U.S. -Russia summit in Washington "is now out of the question".

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