United States military flexes muscles in message to Russian Federation

Cheryl Sanders
December 8, 2018

A USA warship entered the Sea of Japan in a direct challenge to Russian naval activity in the area, the US military said Wednesday.

The US Navy issued a statement confirming the McCampbell, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer operating from US Naval Base Yokosuka in Japan, had taken part in the operation in Peter the Great Bay near the Russian naval port of Vladivostok, home to Vladimir Putin's Pacific Fleet. In the South China Sea, despite perceptions that U.S. FONOPs have been exclusively conducted against Chinese claims, the U.S. Navy has also challenged excessive maritime claims made by U.S. allies and partners, including the Philippines and Vietnam. That tactic is used to sail in waters considered global - more than 12 nautical miles from shore - but which are claimed by one or more nations.

"These operations demonstrate the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows", McMarr said, according to CNN. Another US ship is expected in the Black Sea soon, amid tensions between Russian Federation and Ukraine.

A spokeswoman for Russia's Foreign Ministry said Russian Federation "scrupulously abides by the provisions of the treaty, and the us side knows this". "This applies to both the sea of Japan and to other places around the world", said Makmur.

US media say the US Navy is also planning a similar operation in the Black Sea, where Crimea is located.

"Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait is a risky escalation in a pattern of increasingly provocative and threatening activity", Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon told CNN on Thursday. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the USA will suspend its obligations under the treaty in 60 days, and he accused Russian Federation of "cheating" on the deal. The US objects to Russia's claim to an area of the bay beyond the 12 nautical miles. Under the 1936 Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits, governments must secure permission from Turkey 15 days before seeking to enter the Bosporus Straits, the only route into the Black Sea from the Mediterranean Sea.

It also comes as the United States and Russia clash over a number of issues, including accusations by Washington that Moscow has violated terms of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), and US complaints over recent Russian military operations near Ukraine.

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