A Russian fighter jet made multiple passes close to an American warship in the Black Sea for more than 90 minutes as tensions escalated in Ukraine, a US official has disclosed.
In the first public account of the incident, the official said that the Russian Fencer jet flew within 900 metres of the USS Donald Cook, a navy destroyer, at about 150 metres above sea level, on Saturday.
Ship commanders considered the actions provocative and inconsistent with international agreements, prompting the vessel to issue several radio queries and warnings.
The fighter appeared to be unarmed and was never in danger of making contact with the ship, the official said. The passes, which occurred in the early evening, ended without incident.
The official also said that a Russian naval frigate had been shadowing the Donald Cook, remaining within visual distance but not close enough to be unsafe.
The Donald Cook has been conducting operations in international waters east of Romania.
The ship, which carries helicopters, was deployed to the Black Sea on April 10 after the Russian military takeover of Ukraine's Crimea region and ongoing unrest there.