U.S. Destroyer Sails Through Waters Claimed by Russia

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Navy despatched a warship by the Sea of Japan, in a uncommon problem to Russia’s maritime claims in worldwide waters, officers mentioned.

Wednesday’s patrol, generally known as a freedom-of-navigation operation, got here amid tensions between Washington and Moscow over points together with Russia’s detention of three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crew members for allegedly violating Russian territorial waters close to the Black Sea in late November.

The U.S. Navy conducts such operations around the globe on a routine foundation, placing a specific give attention to such patrols to problem China’s maritime claims within the South China Sea. That is the primary operation concentrating on Russia on this area since 1987, an official mentioned.

The guided-missile destroyer McCampbell sailed by the Peter the Nice Bay within the Sea of Japan, mentioned Lieutenant Junior Grade Rachel McMarr, a spokeswoman for U.S. Pacific Fleet Command in Hawaii.

The ship handed by the bay “to problem Russia’s extreme maritime claims and uphold the rights, freedoms and lawful makes use of of the ocean” for the U.S. and different nations, she mentioned.

The operation didn’t problem any Russian land claims, as do many such operations elsewhere on this planet. On this case, the U.S. was difficult claims made at sea, officers mentioned.

Moscow has lengthy claimed these worldwide waters as its personal, officers mentioned. The then-Soviet Union in 1984 drew what U.S. officers describe as an arbitrary line throughout Peter the Nice Bay, dwelling to the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet. That line claimed waters acknowledged by different nations as worldwide waters, not Moscow’s.

The bay, off the Russian coast within the Sea of Japan, is close to the northernmost border of North Korea.

“That is about Russians stopping entry to maintain navy surveillance away from their fleet,” mentioned Bryan Clark, a senior fellow on the Heart for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

Lt. McMarr mentioned U.S. forces function within the Indo-Pacific area every day.

“These operations exhibit the USA will fly, sail and function wherever worldwide regulation permits,” she mentioned. “That’s true within the Sea of Japan as somewhere else across the globe.”

The patrol got here because the Navy additionally was planning to ship a warship into the Black Sea in one other problem to Russian claims, a number of thousand miles to the west, a U.S. navy official mentioned.

Russian officers in Washington didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Write to Gordon Lubold at Gordon.Lubold@wsj.com and Nancy A. Youssef at nancy.youssef@wsj.com

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