Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States would have been justified in shooting down Russian fighter jets that flew metres from US warships.
Video footage released on Wednesday showed the Russian fighter jets “buzzing” around the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea, which the United States labeled a simulated attack.
The warship sat 70 nautical miles from Russian territory located between Poland and Lithuania.
Mr Kerry condemned the actions of the Russian jets as reckless and provocative, saying that under the rules of engagement the United States were well within their right to shoot down the jets.
“People need to understand that this is serious business and the United States is not going to be intimidated on the high seas,” Mr Kerry said in an interview.
He ensured that the United States were working with Russia to clear up any misunderstanding and hope “that this will never be repeated”.
The State Department and the White House have expressed their concerns about the incident, saying they will raise the issue with the Russian foreign minister.
A spokesman for the Russian defence ministry said that the Russian bombers respected all safety rules when they flew over the US destroyer.
Photo of US Secretary of State John Kerry from Center for American Progress’s Flickr photostream.