(CNN)Russia acted “in accordance with international rules” when its unarmed fighter jets had two close encounters with the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Thursday.
Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov spoke to Russian state news agency Tass.
Initial reports indicate two encounters with the U.S. Navy-guided missile destroyer occurred Tuesday night in international waters.
One of the Russian jets flew within 75 feet of the U.S. ship’s superstructure.
The Cook “encountered multiple, aggressive flight maneuvers by Russian aircraft that were performed within close proximity of the ship,” the U.S. European Command said in a statement.
“We have deep concerns about the unsafe and unprofessional Russian flight maneuvers,” the statement said.
The ship, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, had a Polish helicopter on board as part of routine training, according to a U.S. official, leading to speculation Russia was “sending a message to Poland.”
A U.S. official described the Russian maneuver as “strafing runs” without firing any weapons. The unarmed Russian aircraft swooped in over the deck in the same flight profile that would have been used if an attack were underway.