Spokespeople for US Navy said that Russian maritime borders contradicted to international law. Therefore, the United States does not recognize them, and the maneuver by USS John McCain was intended to defend the right to navigate in the area.
USS John McCain destroyer conducted an operation to ensure freedom of navigation in the Peter the Great Bay (the Sea of Japan) without violating international rights, the command of the US Seventh Fleet said. The actions of the destroyer confirmed the rights to the lawful use of the sea, recognized by international laws, and challenged Russia's excessive maritime claims.
On November 24, 2020, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that the US destroyer invaded Russia's maritime space in the Peter the Great Bay in the Sea of Japan. The city of Vladivostok and the town of Nakhodka are located in the area of the bay.
Spokespeople for the US Navy recalled that the USSR included the Peter the Great Bay in its internal waters in 1984. According to the United States, the decision was made contrary to international law, particularly to the norms of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
According to the US Navy, Russia continued the claims of the USSR. By conducting the operation, the United States demonstrated that those waters were not part of the maritime territory of the Russian Federation.
Washington officials later noted that the US Navy was guided by international law in its actions, regardless of excessive maritime claims and current events.
Thus, US officials concluded, Russia's statement about USS John McCain invading Russian territorial waters was not trie to fact.
Representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry made a statement about the violation of Russian borders earlier on Tuesday. It was in particular said that the US destroyer traveled 2 km beyond the sea border. The Admiral Vinogradov anti-submarine ship sent a warning signal to the US destroyer about readiness for the ramming maneuver to force the US warship to leave Russian waters.
The John McCain "immediately went into neutral waters," representatives of the Russian Defence Ministry said.
In December 2018, US destroyer McCampbell passed in the vicinity of the Peter the Great Bay. Back then, spokespeople for the US Pacific Fleet stated that the maneuver also had a goal to challenge Russia's excessive maritime claims and defend the rights, freedoms and lawful use of the sea, which the United States and other nations enjoy. Russian officials then responded that the US naval command tried to pass a routine manoeuvre for a demonstrative step. The McCampbell destroyer was not even 100 kilometres close to Russian maritime borders and was escorted by Russian navy ship and aircraft.