After another Pentagon statement on “unsafe and unprofessional maneuvers” by a ship or aircraft of some country in the vicinity of US sailors and pilots, who ‘peacefully’ violate Russian, Chinese or Iranian borders, my friends are usually indignant. This happened recently when the American Navy P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft twice approached Russia’s border over the Black Sea and were intercepted by Sukhoi Su-27 fighters.
American military tend to misbehave, believing they will escape punishment. Dotting the world with reconnaissance stations, interception and wiretapping systems, they are sure that as “Big Brother,” they can take the liberty of doing anything they want. They do this until someone explains in plain language that they must not misbehave, sobering them with a slap in the face.
Many remember the incident of the U-2 spy plane piloted by Gary Powers shot down over Sverdlovsk in 1960. In 1988, the Bezzavetny guard ship literally pushed the American missile cruiser USS Yorktown out of Soviet territorial waters. Deputy Commander in Chief of the Black Sea Fleet Rear-Admiral Valery Kulikov, who took a direct part in that incident as a first mate on the Bezzavetny told me the story.
The American missile cruiser USS Yorktown and the destroyer Caron entered Soviet territorial waters off the coast of Crimea, using the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as cover for their actions. This convention, which in exceptional cases, allows “innocent passage” for combat ships carrying weapons through territorial waters of littoral states, was signed but not ratified by the USSR. The guard-boat Bezzavetny and a Soviet frigate SKR-6 went to intercept the Americans, who refused to change course, claiming they were not violating the law and refusing to leave the territorial waters of the USSR.
The commanders of the guard ships started ramming the cruiser, Bezzavetny doing so twice. As a result, it tore the skin of the American cruiser with its anchor flake, destroyed the guardrail, broke the captain’s gig and several anti-ship harpoon launchers. The collision caused a fire on the cruiser, and soon it had to leave Soviet waters.
This is how the Americans tried to test us during those years, but we were not born yesterday. The first mate Kulikov stood behind the helmsman ready to replace him in an emergency, but the seaman stood his ground. Before ramming, the commander ordered life jackets on, but no one obeyed. The crew merely changed to clean underwear – as sailors traditionally do before combat.
Today American generals, whose memory is as short as the history of their country, are again sending their ships and aircraft to our borders to misbehave.
And we again have to explain to them that this is just not done.