Russia Rejects Criticism of Fly-By Near U.S. Navy Destroyer

MOSCOW (AP) -
In this image released by the U.S. Navy, a Russian SU-24 jet makes a close-range and low altitude pass near the USS Donald Cook on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, in the Baltic Sea. The Russian attack planes buzzed the U.S. Navy destroyer multiple times on Monday and Tuesday, at one point coming so close, an estimated 30 feet, that they created wakes in the water around the ship, a U.S. official said Wednesday, April 13. (U.S. Navy via AP)
In this image released by the U.S. Navy, a Russian SU-24 jet makes a close-range and low altitude pass near the USS Donald Cook on Tuesday, in the Baltic Sea. (U.S. Navy via AP)

Russia’s defense ministry has rejected complaints by U.S. officials who claimed Russian attack planes buzzed dangerously close to a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Baltic Sea earlier this week.

The U.S. European command has said the Russian planes buzzed multiple times on Monday and Tuesday in what the U.S. officials described as an unsafe and unprofessional manner.

Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian defense ministry, said on Thursday that the pilots of Russian Su-24 jets saw the ship and turned back “while using all measures of precaution.”

Konashenkov said he was baffled by what he described as the “distressed reaction of our American counterparts.”

The U.S. European Command statement said on Wednesday that officials are using diplomatic channels to address the matter.