Russians and Americans – level 3
For a brief moment, it seemed like the sailors on board this US Navy destroyer were under attack from Russian jet fighters. Without warning, the two planes carried out practice attacks on the warship in international waters in the Baltic Sea.
"If you're the commander of the USS Donald Cook, you've got to keep a really cool head. I think the commander should be commended in this case for doing so. But this isn't going to be the first time for this commander who's going to see a low-level flying aircraft coming at his warship because, to be honest with you, it’s practised all the time."
However, the White House have called it an act of aggression. The planes, which were carrying no visible weaponry, flew at about 30 feet (9 metres), creating waves in the water, passing by the ship 11 times in total.
"It's just a game of cat and mouse and, actually, what's more important to the Russian jets, I would speculate, is to actually get a look at what the US Donald Cook is carrying in terms of its capability, its radar systems and it wouldn't surprise me if actually had some sort of recon port on the Russian aircraft that was taking pictures."
US officials have said they tried to contact the Russian aircraft via the radio but received no response.
A bilateral agreement between the US and Russia aimed at avoiding dangerous interactions at sea was signed in 1972. A US defence officially said the commanding officer of the ship called the incident unsafe and unprofessional.
Difficult words: destroyer (a small, fast warship), commend (yo congratulate), in terms (regarding), recon (short for reconnaissance – collecting information secretly), bilateral (involving two countries).
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