US Navy Chief Calls on Normalized Relations with Russia in Baltic Sea

US Navy Chief Calls on Normalized Relations with Russia in Baltic Sea
Tue May 3, 2016 10:21:44

US Navy Chief Admiral John Richardson says he hopes for a "normalization" of relations between Washington and Moscow in the Baltic Sea.

Richardson made the comments on Monday a few days after a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 buzzed a US RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft over the Baltic Sea.

On Friday, the Russian fighter came within about 30 meters (100 feet) of the American plane and performed a “barrel roll” over it.

It was the second such incident in recent weeks, as a Russian supersonic jet intercepted a US spy aircraft over Russia’s Far East, flying within several feet of it on April 21.

The Russian MiG-31 jet intercepted a US Navy P-8 Maritime Patrol reconnaissance aircraft while flying a routine mission in international airspace in the vicinity of the Kamchatka Peninsula. 

Richardson said such incidents, which result from miscalculations, necessitate normalizing relations between the two sides in the region.

US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson says, "we look for sort of normalization" with Russia in the Baltic Sea

"It just increases the chance for some kind of a tactical miscalculation," Richardson told Pentagon reporters. "It just sort of raises the overall tension in the region, so we look for sort of normalization there."

However, he urged Moscow to comply with a maritime agreement, signed by US and Soviet powers in 1972, to avoid naval mishaps.

"We continue to advocate for that," Richardson said, but noted that there could not have been any aggressive intent during the recent incidents.

"I don't think the Russians are trying to provoke an incident," he said. "I think they are trying to send a signal."

Tensions between Russian and American military forces surged early in April after two Russian Sukhoi Su-24 warplanes performed “simulated attack” passes over the USS Donald Cook destroyer in the Baltic Sea.

Moscow has voiced concern and displeasure about the proximity of US ships and planes to its borders.

The Baltic nations, which joined NATO in 2004, have asked the military alliance for a permanent presence of battalion-sized deployments of troops in each of their territories, although Moscow denies any intention to attack the Baltic States.

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