MIAMI — Secretary of State John Kerry says that under U.S. military rules of engagement, the Navy ship that was buzzed by Russian military jets in the Baltic Sea this week could have opened fire.
Kerry made the remark Thursday to CNN Espanol in Miami.
The guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook reported that pairs of Russian Su-24 attack planes made numerous close-range passes on Monday and Tuesday. The planes appeared to be unarmed.
The Cook did not respond except to unsuccessfully query the Russian pilots by radio.
Kerry condemned the Russian actions and said that "under the rules of engagement" it "could have been a shootdown."
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the U.S. raised its concerns through its military defense representative at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.