Russian Military Tracks US Destroyer in Sea of Japan - MoD

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Equipped with Tomahawk missiles, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer sailed "in the vicinity" of Russian territory in the Sea of Japan to "uphold the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea", the US Navy said. Peter the Great Bay stretches farther than that from parts of the Russian coast, but Moscow claims the entire bay as its own, anyway.

On Wednesday, a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed through Russian-claimed waters off the Sea of Japan, in Peter the Great Bay off the Russian port city of Vladivostok, in a freedom of navigation operation (FONOP).

A U.S. Navy destroyer sailed through waters claimed by Russian Federation in the Sea of Japan on Wednesday, challenging Moscow's ownership of the area for the first time since the end of the Cold War.

"These operations demonstrate the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows", McMarr said, according to CNN. "That is true in the Sea of Japan, as in other places around the globe", her statement declared, The Hill reported.

The anti-Russia deployments and preparations by the U.S. Navy come amid heightened stress between Moscow and the West over Russia's seizure of two small Ukrainian military ships, a tugboat, and their crews on November 25.

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It is the first time since 1987 when a U.S. warship conducted a freedom of navigation operation close to Russian territorial waters in the Peter the Great Bay, the navy official boasted.

The Defense Department regularly conducts such "freedom of navigation" exercises, but it usually does so in the South China Sea in challenges to claims by China.

During the same event, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reportedly declared that the USA -led alliance had intensified its presence in the Black Sea region in response to what he described as "Russia's aggressive actions". The last time the U.S. Navy sailed in the area was 1987, the same year the U.S. signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russian Federation.

Citing the Black Sea dispute, President Donald Trump last week canceled a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation conference in Brussels Tuesday, said the alliance "will collectively develop [a] set of responses that demonstrate to Russians this behavior is unacceptable".

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