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USS McCampbell, U.S. Navy destroyer, challenges Russian Federation in Sea of Japan

08 December 2018

A U.S. Navy destroyer sailed through waters claimed by Russian Federation in the Sea of Japan on Wednesday, challenging Moscow's ownership of the area for the first time since the end of the Cold War.

Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, demanded that the Kremlin "instantly stop its illegal conduct and respect the navigational rights and freedoms of all states", following the incident.

According to United States officials, these operations are created to ensure respect for the right of free passage in worldwide waters and to challenge excessive claims.

She said: "These operations demonstrate the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows. That is true in the Sea of Japan, as in other places around the globe", her statement declared, The Hill reported.

Tensions stay excessive between Moscow and Washington and have escalated additional since the final week when Russian Federation captured three Ukrainian ships and 24 Ukrainian sailors within the Sea of Azov. In addition, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the Alliance has increased its military presence in the Black sea, the number of ships engaged in patrolling, increased to 20. Global law - specifically the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which Russian Federation is a party to and the United States an unratified signatory to - provides for territorial seas extending for 12 nautical miles from a coastal states' territory.

"Russia must know that the United States will not allow them to militarize worldwide waterways in key areas such as the Black Sea, the Sea of Japan or Okhotsk, or elsewhere", Zilberman said.

The last time the US conducted a "freedom of navigation operation" in that area, not far from Vladivostok, home of the Russian Pacific Fleet, was in 1987, when the country making such a territorial-waters claim was the Soviet Union.

The Russian Navy's Pacific Fleet is headquartered in the eastern port city of Vladivostok, located in Peter the Great Bay, the largest gulf in the East Sea/Sea of Japan. Since 1987, the United States has not conducted the operation freedom of navigation in this area.

The freedom-of-navigation was similar to those that the USA regularly conducts in the South China Sea, often provoking China.

Last month, Russian Federation seized three Ukrainian navy ships in the Kerch Strait, which links the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

Under the rules of the Montreux Convention, US ships can only be in the Black Sea for 21 days.

USS McCampbell, U.S. Navy destroyer, challenges Russian Federation in Sea of Japan