Russian warship chases off US submarine near Pacific islands

Kremlin denounces US 'peak hysteria' after Putin-Biden call

By: AFP
Published: 07:29 AM, 13 Feb, 2022
Russian warship chases off US submarine near Pacific islands
Caption: File photo.
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A Russian anti-submarine destroyer chased off a US submarine near the Kuril Islands, forcing it to leave the country's territorial waters, Moscow said Saturday, amid rising tensions over Ukraine.

Russia's defence ministry said that during planned military drills the Marshal Shaposhnikov destroyer had detected a US Navy Virginia-class submarine in Russian territorial waters near the Kuril Islands in the northern Pacific. 

When the submarine ignored demands to surface, the crew of the frigate "used appropriate means" and the US submarine left at full speed, the ministry said, without providing further details.

The ministry said it had summoned the US defence attache in Moscow over the incident.

"In connection with the violation by the US Navy submarine of the state border of the Russian Federation, the defence attache at the US embassy in Moscow was summoned to the Russian defence ministry", the defence ministry said.

The US military however denied the account.

The statement from the US military, however, said: "There is no truth to the Russian claims of our operations in their territorial waters."

Captain Kyle Raines, spokesman for the US Indo-Pacific Command, said he would not comment on the precise locations of US submarines.

But he added: "We do fly, sail, and operate safely in international waters."

The Kurils, which lie north of Japan's Hokkaido island, have been controlled by Moscow since they were seized by Soviet troops in the waning days of World War II.

The alleged incident took place near the Kuril island of Urup, which is controlled by Russia.

It comes amid rising tensions between Russia and the West that have seen Moscow surround Ukraine on three sides with more than 100,000 troops.

Washington has warned that an all-out invasion could begin "any day".

Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Saturday condemned such claims as a "provocation".

Kremlin denounces US 'peak hysteria'

The Kremlin on Saturday denounced US "peak hysteria" surrounding the Ukraine conflict but said Russian President Vladimir Putin and US leader Joe Biden had agreed to continue dialogue.

Speaking after new phone talks between Putin and Biden, the Kremlin's top foreign policy advisor Yury Ushakov told a conference call: "Hysteria has reached its peak."

Ushakov said that the US side had requested to arrange phone talks between Biden and Putin on Saturday even though such a call had initially been planned for Monday.

The two leaders spoke after Washington warned that an all-out Russian invasion of Ukraine could begin "any day".

Ushakov complained about the US claims, saying that Americans even released "the date of the Russian invasion".

"We don't understand why false information about our intentions is being passed to the media," he told reporters.

He said that Putin once again complained that the West has been arming Ukraine and that Kyiv authorities have been "sabotaging" Western-brokered peace agreements to end a years-long conflict in eastern Ukraine.

At the same time Ushakov called the one-hour phone talks between the two leaders "balanced and business-like" and added that "the presidents have agreed to continue contacts at all levels".

Russia is demanding binding security guarantees from the West that includes a pledge to roll NATO forces out of eastern Europe and to never expand into Ukraine.

Washington has flatly rejected the demands while offering to discuss a new European disarmament agreement with Moscow.

Ushakov said Moscow would take into account Biden's point of view as it prepares to respond to Washington and NATO's proposals.

"The Russian side will carefully analyse Biden's concerns."

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.