WASHINGTON—The U.S. Navy despatched a warship via the Sea of Japan, in a uncommon problem to Russia’s maritime claims in worldwide waters, officers stated.

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Wednesday’s patrol, often called a freedom-of-navigation operation, got here amid tensions between Washington and Moscow over points together with Russia’s detention of three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crew members for allegedly violating Russian territorial waters close to the Black Sea in late November.

The U.S. Navy conducts such operations world wide on a routine foundation, placing a selected give attention to such patrols to problem China’s maritime claims within the South China Sea. That is the primary operation focusing on Russia on this area since 1987, an official stated.

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The guided-missile destroyer McCampbell sailed via the Peter the Nice Bay within the Sea of Japan, stated Lieutenant Junior Grade Rachel McMarr, a spokeswoman for U.S. Pacific Fleet Command in Hawaii.

The ship handed via the bay “to problem Russia’s extreme maritime claims and uphold the rights, freedoms and lawful makes use of of the ocean” for the U.S. and different nations, she stated.

The operation didn’t problem any Russian land claims, as do many such operations elsewhere on the planet. On this case, the U.S. was difficult claims made at sea, officers stated.

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Moscow has lengthy claimed these worldwide waters as its personal, officers stated. The then-Soviet Union in 1984 drew what U.S. officers describe as an arbitrary line throughout Peter the Nice Bay, residence to the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet. That line claimed waters acknowledged by different nations as worldwide waters, not Moscow’s.

The bay, off the Russian coast within the Sea of Japan, is close to the northernmost border of North Korea.

“That is about Russians stopping entry to maintain navy surveillance away from their fleet,” stated Bryan Clark, a senior fellow on the Heart for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

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Lt. McMarr stated U.S. forces function within the Indo-Pacific area each day.

“These operations reveal the US will fly, sail and function wherever worldwide regulation permits,” she stated. “That’s true within the Sea of Japan as somewhere else across the globe.”

The patrol got here because the Navy additionally was planning to ship a warship into the Black Sea in one other problem to Russian claims, a number of thousand miles to the west, a U.S. navy official stated.

Russian officers in Washington didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Write to Gordon Lubold at [email protected] and Nancy A. Youssef at [email protected]

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