Coast Guard patrol spots Chinese, Russian naval ships off Alaska

A Coast Guard vessel encountered a Chinese guided missile cruiser, two other Chinese naval vessels and four Russian naval vessels, including a destroyer.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A US Coast Guard ship on routine patrol in the Bering Sea encountered a guided missile cruiser from China, officials said Monday.

But it turned out the cruiser wasn’t alone as she sailed about 86 miles (138 kilometers) north of Alaska’s Kiska Island on September 19.

The patrol boat, known as a cutter named Kimball, later discovered that there were two other Chinese naval vessels and four Russian naval vessels, including a destroyer, all in a single formation.

The Honolulu-based Kimball, a 400-foot (127-meter) ship, watched as the ships broke formation and scattered. A C-130 Hercules provided air support to the Kimball from the Coast Guard station in Kodiak.

“Although the formation has operated in accordance with international rules and norms, we will match presence with presence to ensure there is no interference with US interests in the maritime environment around Alaska,” said Rear Admiral Nathan Moore, commander of the Seventeenth Coast Guard District .

The Coast Guard said Operation Frontier Sentinel policies call for meeting “presence with presence” when strategic competitors are operating in and around U.S. waters.

The Kimball will continue to monitor the area.

The Coast Guard did not immediately respond to questions about the incident from The Associated Press.

The Sino-Russian formation came a month after NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned of China’s interest in the Arctic and Russia’s military buildup there.

Stoltenberg said Russia had established a new Arctic Command and opened hundreds of new and former Soviet-era Arctic military sites, including deep-sea ports and airfields.

China has declared itself a “near arctic” state and plans to build the world’s largest icebreaker, he said.

“Beijing and Moscow have also pledged to intensify practical cooperation in the Arctic. This is part of a deepening strategic partnership that challenges our values ​​and interests,” said Stoltenberg during a visit to northern Canada.

This wasn’t the first time Chinese Navy ships had sailed near Alaskan waters. In September 2021, Coast Guard cutters encountered Chinese vessels in the Bering Sea and North Pacific, about 80 kilometers off the Aleutian Islands. Coast Guard patrol spots Chinese, Russian naval ships off Alaska

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