USNI- A Russian warship, the 4,000-ton Russian frigate Yaroslav Mudry (FF-727), approached within 315 yards of the U.S. Navy warship in the eastern Mediterranean Sea earlier this month in what U.S. officials say was a series of “unsafe maneuvers”. The USS Gravely was in the Mediterranean on a routine patrol June 17 to provide protection for the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman as part of Operation Inherent Resolve to counter ISIS. It was approached by the Project 1154 Russian Neustrashimyy-class frigate, according to U.S. officials.The Russian vessel made repeated passes behind the Gravely within its wake. At one point, the Russian ship pointed toward the Truman, the officials said. “Gravely was operating astern of Harry S. Truman, and assessed that 777 was intentionally trying to interfere with Harry S. Truman operations,” the official said, referring to the Russian frigate’s side number. The Gravely eventually accelerated speed and moved ahead, with the Russian ship still following it before breaking off.
For the first time in some years, two US Navy carrier strike groups were active at the same time in the Mediterranean Sea. On June 2, the carrier Harry S. Truman — whose escorts included the Graveley — passed northbound through the Suez Canal and, on the following day, began combat strikes against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq. The Truman apparently has wrapped up combat operations and was in port at Souda Bay, Crete last weekend. US officials on Tuesday would not confirm the ship’s location, but she is believed to be preparing to return to the US at the end of a seven-month deployment.
The Kremlin claims that was harassed by the U.S. guided missile destroyer, while attempting to disrupt an aircraft carrier tasked with fighting ISIS. It was claimed that as the ships traveled, Mudry’s crew repeatedly warned Gravely over the radio not to get close but kept accelerating and turning into the American destroyer over the 90 minutes it was tailing the destroyer and carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75), at one point that the frigate got as close as about 300 yards.
Throughout the incident, Gravely maneuvered to stay between Mudry and Truman, the official said.
The crew of Gravely and the carrier determined the Russian frigate, “was intentionally trying to interfere with Harry S. Truman operations,” as the official said. “We have deep concerns about the unsafe and unprofessional Russian ship maneuvers. These actions have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries, and could result in a miscalculation or accident which results in serious injury or death.”
The incident is the latest in an ongoing series of confrontational military encounters at sea and in the air, and takes place as the US has increased its naval demonstrations in the Mediterranean region.