Russian attack planes flew close to a US Navy destroyer in the Baltic Sea multiple times Monday and Tuesday, coming within an estimated 30 feet (9 metres) from the ship and twice passing below the ship’s navigation bridge, US officials said Wednesday.
The Russian Su-24 planes appeared unarmed but on Tuesday flew what the commander of the USS Donald Cook deemed to be a simulated attack profile.
The Cook’s commander judged the actions unsafe and unprofessional, but the ship took no action beyond trying unsuccessfully to communicate with the aircraft by radio, according to a statement by US European Command.
The US European Command, which oversees US military operations in that area, said the Cook was conducting deck landing drills with an allied military helicopter when two Su-24s made numerous close-range and low-altitude passes Monday afternoon.
One pass occurred while the helicopter was refueling on the Cook’s deck.
European Command did not identify the ally involved but other officials said the helicopter was Polish.