WASHINGTON — Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Friday blamed Russia for the near-collision between U.S. and Russian warships hours before and indicated the militaries of the two countries will discuss the matter.
"There was obviously a safety issue there. That behavior was unsafe and unprofessional. We'll have military-to-military conversations with the Russians," Shanahan told reporters outside the Pentagon.
He said the incident "will not deter us in our operations."
Shanahan's comments follow what the U.S. has characterized as a Russian destroyer's unsafe maneuver against U.S. Navy cruiser USS Chancellorsville in the Philippine Sea. The destroyer got within 100 feet of the U.S. warship, according to the Navy.
Russian state media has placed the blame for the incident on the "sudden change of direction" of the Chancellorsville.