U.S. destroyer challenges Russian claims in Sea of Japan

08 December, 2018, 21:59 | Author: Myra Gill
  • US warship challenges Russia claims in Sea of Japan

Russian Federation has "partially unblocked" Ukraine's ports on the Azov Sea, allowing ship traffic though the Kerch Strait, Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelyan said Tuesday in a statement posted on the ministry's website.

Washington has stepped up its activity in the Pacific Ocean in recent years, with its ship conducting drills and freedom-of-navigation passages near Russian and Chinese territorial waters. Peter the Great Bay is the largest gulf in the Sea of Japan, also referred to as the East Sea by the Koreas, and home to the Russian's far-east city of Vladivostok and the Russian Navy's Pacific Fleet.

Russian Federation also recently denied three Ukrainian naval ships access to Mariupol, a Ukrainian port in the Sea of Azov, by blocking the Kerch Strait with a tanker, according to The Guardian. The presence of a United States destroyer in the area is comparable to a Russian sail-by of San Diego, California or Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

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.

A spokeswoman for Russia's Foreign Ministry said Russian Federation "scrupulously abides by the provisions of the treaty, and the USA side knows this".

That is not all, however.


The U.S. Navy is also preparing to send a warship into the Black Sea for the first time in a month to shore up support to Ukraine after Russian forces seized three Ukrainian vessels and 24 sailors aboard on November 25.

"Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait is a unsafe escalation in a pattern of increasingly provocative and threatening activity", Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon told CNN on Thursday.

The U.S. Navy has conducted several such operations in the South China Sea, sailing past islands claimed by China near Gaven and Johnson reefs in the Spratly Islands. Russia's claim is based on a baseline drawn across the mouth of Peter the Great Bay and extending the 12 nautical mile zone out from that baseline.

"The U.S. files Montreux Convention requests regularly but doesn't always follow through by sending a ship", Eric Pahon, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters Thursday. Since 1987, the United States has not conducted the operation freedom of navigation in this area.

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