A U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser and a Russian destroyer came within meters of one another in an encounter near the Philippines, and U.S. officials accused the Russian ship of "unsafe and unprofessional" conduct.
Russia's Pacific Fleet blamed the June 7 near-collision on the American ship, the USS Chancellorsville, in the Philippine Sea.
Russian and U.S. military aircraft regularly have close encounters in the airspace near the two countries' borders, with surveillance planes gathering intelligence or bombers testing air defense and response times of fighter jet squadrons. Frequently, the two sides exchange accusations of unsafe conduct.
But it's more unusual to have two naval ships in such close proximity, prompting high-level accusations.
In a statement, Commander Clayton Doss, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific-based Seventh Fleet, said the Russian destroyer-- identified as the Admiral Vinogradov -- made an “unsafe maneuver” near the U.S. ship, “putting the safety of her crew and ship at risk.”
He said the ships came within 30 meters of one another.
"This unsafe action forced Chancellorsville to execute all engines back full and to maneuver to avoid collision," he said.
Russia's navy, meanwhile, asserted the Chancellorsville "suddenly changed course and crossed the path of the [Russian ship] about 50 meters away," calling it a "dangerous maneuver."
Doss described the Russian assertion as "propaganda." The Russian destroyer came to within 15 to 30 meters of the Chancellorsville, he said.
In a series of videos taken by U.S. sailors and released by the U.S. Navy, the two ships can be seen traveling at speed, close to one another.
One of the videos appears to show several Russian personnel sitting in chairs on the deck, near the stern, apparently sunbathing.
The incident comes three days after the U.S. Sixth Fleet, in the Mediterranean, accused a Russian Su-35 fighter jet of unsafely intercepting a U.S. aircraft.