Two Russian jets and one Russian military helicopter buzzed the U.S. Navy Destroyer for two days in the uncontested waters of Baltic Sea.
The U.S. officials aboard the warship faced run-ins that stretched to two days. The jets, identified as Su-24 striker jets, were said to circle "as close as 30 feet" at one point in time.
The officers claim that despite repeated radio warnings in both English and Russian, the jet pilots continued to circle the Donald Cook, severely disrupting the warship's flight routine.
The first occurrence took place about 3 p.m. on April 11, when the ship was engaged in refuelling the allied Polish military helicopter on its deck, says the U.S. Statement. As a safety precaution, the activities were suspended till the jets departed, after making several passes.
This was followed by the arrival of a Russian KA-27 Helix helicopter a couple of hours later that circled the liner at a low altitude in what the officers deem as a simulated attack profile. It was joined by the two jets 40 minutes later, and eventually departed after appearing to have clicked some photos.
"We have deep concerns about the unsafe and unprofessional Russian flight maneuvers," the European Command said. "These actions have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries, and could result in a miscalculation or accident that could cause serious injury or death."
However, Captain Rick Hoffman, a retired Navy commanding officer dismissed the run-ins as mere "showboating" than real threats.
"If you have visual identification of the jet, [you] can see it isn't carrying weapons, and don't detect any electronic emissions suggesting there was a missile lock on the ship, there's nothing to be done," said a report.
The retired CO also said saying that the U.S. is not at war with Russia to trigger such threats.
"You don't get to kill people just because they're being annoying," he added.
The Navy is currently reviewing the incidents and the U.S. officials plan to address this issue with the Russians via the diplomatic channels. However, it is more likely that this little stunt may end up being the Russian President Putin's public relations tool than a real matter of concern.