WASHINGTON – (Newsblaze) – After Russian fighter jets made low passes over the US Navy Destroyer Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea, the White House pressed reporters on Wednesday to consider the incident as “not routine.”
“I do think that there’s little value in further escalating the situation. What I understand to be true is that the incident that we saw is not routine, but certainly not unprecedented. There have been a number of other reports that we’ve even discussed in here where Russian military pilots have operated in a manner that’s inconsistent with the generally accepted norms of international airspace and international waters,” noted Obama White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
The administration did seek to downplay the abnormal incident by saying it was being referred to the defense attache at the US Embassy in Moscow.
“It is not uncommon at all to use this channel to raise our concerns about this kind of conduct from the Russian military. We’ve seen these kinds of acts from Russian military pilots, for example, in the past. This is the channel that we have used to convey our concerns. So it is not at all extraordinary that we would be conveying our concerns about this incident through that particular channel.” noted Earnest.
Russian Fighter Jets Ignore Treaty
Washington’s Concerns that the Embassy Defense Attache will likely bring up with his Russian counterparts are covered by the International INCSEA treaty. That treaty was agreed to and signed in 1972. The Press Secretary read the specific paragraph that governed the incident.
“Commanders of aircraft of the parties shall use the greatest caution and prudence in approaching aircraft and ships of the other party operating on and over the high seas, in particular ships engaged in launching or landing aircraft, and, in the interest of mutual safety, shall not permit simulated attacks by the simulated use of weapons against aircraft and ships, or performance of various aerobatics over ships, or dropping various objects near them in such a manner as to be hazardous to ships or to constitute a hazard to navigation.”
Although the incident has caused a diplomatic row between Washington and Moscow, the press secretary was unable to tell reporters he had spoken to the President about it. Neither could he say whether there was a future call to Russian President Vladimir Putin in the schedule.
“I certainly wouldn’t rule out presidential conversations, but at this point, if a phone call were to take place, it would not be a direct response to this particular incident. The President consults with President Putin on a range of issues, including the ongoing situation in Ukraine. But we’ll obviously keep you posted if there are any presidential phone calls that are scheduled.” Earnest said.