‘Stop your saber rattling!’ Russia tells US to sail its warships in its own waters, and not jeopardize peace in far-away Black Sea
Moscow’s diplomats in Washington have reacted furiously to the latest in a series of military drills carried out by American sailors off Russia’s southern coast, which is almost 9,000km away from the US mainland.
On Wednesday, the US Navy announced that it had conducted maneuvers in the Black Sea, joining Turkish vessels “in an integrated surface, air and subsurface warfare exercise.” It said the show of force with another member of the NATO military bloc “enhanced combined tactical command and control proficiency.”
STRONG ALLIANCE:🇹🇷🇺🇸 In the #BlackSea, @USNavy joined @TSKGnkur#Turkish ships & aircraft in an integrated surface, air, & subsurface warfare exercise. These maneuvers between @NATO Allies enhanced combined tactical command & control proficiency.Article: https://t.co/xskm8Pb1nJpic.twitter.com/oEhWNyBOgG— U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet (@USNavyEurope) February 10, 2021
However, Moscow’s delegation warned that the move was a worrying escalation towards a conflict between Russia and the West. “It looks like the US 6th fleet can’t wait to find an enemy in the Black Sea,” officials said in a statement on Thursday. “It is desperately looking for a pretext – now openly under the banner of warfare exercises – for ramping up presence in the region.”
It looks like 🇺🇸 6th Fleet can’t wait to find an enemy in the #BlackSea. It desperately looks for a pretext – now openly under the banner of warfare exercise – for ramping up presence in the region. https://t.co/QaXy3NCVKY— Russian Embassy in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) February 10, 2021
In a further warning, the embassy in Washington called on the American high command “to stop recklessly saber-rattling and mind their business in the territorial waters of the United States.” It added that “the peace and security of the Black Sea needs no alien interference.”
On Tuesday, at a joint press conference with Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denis Shmigal, NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg said that “we have seen a significant Russian buildup in the Black Sea, not least with the illegal annexation of Crimea, and also with more naval presence in the year.”Also on rt.com NATO orders warships into Black Sea as bloc’s chief calls for Ukraine to be allowed join & stop Russian ‘plan’ to dominate ex-USSR
“NATO has increased its military presence in the Black Sea region,” he said, “because we recognize the great strategic importance of this region for all NATO allies but also of course for our close partner, Ukraine.”
In November, a US naval warship sparked a diplomatic incident by crossing into what Russia considers to be its territorial waters off the Far East capital of Vladivostok. The USS John S McCain, a specialist combat ship designed to hunt submarines, was operating in the Sea of Japan before it was picked up two kilometers inside the internationally recognized maritime border. According to the Ministry of Defense in Moscow, a Russian vessel threatened “the potential of resorting to ramming to force the trespasser out of the territory.”
The US Navy claimed in a statement at the time that the vessel’s so-called “freedom of navigation operation upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law by challenging Russia’s excessive maritime claims.”
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