MOSCOW — The Soviet Union today accused a U.S. nuclear-powered warship of intruding into Soviet waters in Asia twice this week, and warned that the actions could have "serious consequences."
Yuri Gremitskikh, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, said the guided missile cruiser Arkansas violated "the state border of the Soviet Union" in Avacha Bay off the Kamchatka peninsula in the Bering Sea on Sunday and today.
He told a news briefing that he did not know how close the vessel had come to the coast, or whether Soviet armed forces had forced the Arkansas to leave waters claimed by the Soviet Union.
Gremitskikh did not say why the Arkansas had been sailing near Kamchatka, but Avacha Bay is offshore from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, one of the Soviet military's biggest bases in the Far East.
The Foreign Ministry official said the Soviets had delivered a "strong protest" to the United States over the incident.
"The American side was told that such violations could have most serious consequences, all responsibility for which would be squarely on the United States," Gremitskikh said, without elaborating.
He said the Soviets had also demanded that the United States "take every essential measure" to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.
According to Jane's Fighting Ships 1986-87, the 585-foot-long Arkansas is equipped with Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Tomahawk cruise missiles, anti-aircraft rockets, two five-inch guns and torpedoes.
The American warship, commissioned in October, 1980, carries a crew of 35 officers and 438 enlisted men, according to Jane's. It is powered by two pressurized, water-cooled nuclear reactors.