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Russia Endangers Lives, Work Says
By Lisa Ferdinando, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. — (DoD
News) — May 16, 2016 — In buzzing the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea last
month, Russia engaged in reckless actions that unnecessarily endangered lives,
Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said.
USS Donald Cook : A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft
makes a very low-altitude pass by the guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook
in international waters in the Baltic Sea, April 12, 2016. The USS Donald Cook,
forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, is conducting a routine patrol in the U.S. 6th
Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in
"It's clear that the Russians are becoming extremely
aggressive in both the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea," Work told reporters May
12, as he traveled from Romania to Poland.
Russian aircraft performed multiple, aggressive low-altitude
flight maneuvers April 11 and April 12 near the Donald Cook, a U.S. Navy
destroyer operating in international waters, U.S. European Command officials
Crews at Risk
"Those guys were coming in hot and close," Work said, adding
those maneuvers put the Russian crews at risk for a crash into the sea. "When
you're going that fast that close to the water [and you encounter] any type of a
problem -- a bird strike, a seagull, anything like that -- you're cartwheeling
in the drink."
The United States, he said, is going to ensure Russia
understands the area is in international waters and the U.S. will continue to
fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.
Not only were the actions irresponsible, Work said, but if a
crash did occur, Russia would immediately think the United States shot the plane
down -- and the actions that would follow cannot be predicted.
"We often go out and look at Russian ships," he said. "But we
generally do it at a safe altitude and without simulating attack runs -- that is
a surefire way to have an accident, and once an accident occurs, you don't know
what [would happen] afterwards."
Work was in Romania and Poland last week to participate in
two Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense site ceremonies.
Throughout his trip, Work stressed the ballistic missile
defense capabilities were not directed at any Russian threat. The Aegis Ashore
sites, he said, are part of NATO's missile defense system to protect the
alliance from a ballistic missile attack from outside the Euro-Atlantic region.
(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)
Related Links :
Special Report: European Security