U.S. destroyer challenges Russian claims in the Sea of Japan


The Navy sent the USS McCampbell near Peter the Great Bay as the United States and Russia are clashing over a variety of issues.

The Navy sent a guided-missile destroyer into Russian-claimed waters in the Sea of Japan in what it called a “freedom of navigation” operation on Wednesday.

The operation comes as the United States and Russia are clashing over a variety of issues, including U.S. accusations that Russia has violated terms of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, and U.S. complaints over recent Russian operations near Ukraine.

The Navy said in a statement that the USS McCampbell, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer operating from U.S. Naval Base Yokosuka in Japan, sailed near Peter the Great Bay “to challenge Russia’s excessive maritime claims and uphold the rights, freedoms and lawful uses of the sea enjoyed by the United States and other nations.”

Under international maritime law, nations’ territorial rights extend only 12 miles from shore. Peter the Great Bay stretches farther than that from parts of the Russian coast, but Moscow claims the entire bay as its own, anyway.

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.