Russia confront in Black Sea over warship
MOSCOW – Reuters
REUTERS photoMoscow will respond to a U.S. naval ship’s entry into the Black Sea with unspecified measures, Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said, adding that it and other deployments were designed to ratchet up tensions ahead of a NATO summit, RIA news agency reported.
The USS Porter, a U.S. naval destroyer, reportedly entered the Black Sea a few days ago on a routine deployment, a move it said raised hackles in Moscow because it had recently been fitted with a new missile system.
U.S. Navy officials told reporters on June 8 that the U.S. military would also have two aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean this month ahead of a July NATO summit in Warsaw as Washington sought to balance Russian military activities.
“Of course, this does not meet with our approval and will undoubtedly lead to response measures,” said Andrei Kelin, a senior Foreign Ministry official.
He also said the deployment of U.S. aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean was a show of force which, in his view, deepened a chill in ties between Moscow and Washington caused by Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Syria.
“As regards the overall situation of course there is a definite increase and stoking of tensions in our relations,” he was quoted as saying. “It is all being done on the eve of the Warsaw NATO summit. It is a show of force.”
Meanwhile, Aleksandr Vitko, the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, said he hoped the ongoing crisis with Turkey would soon end.
“I hope that the crisis with Turkey will be over and we will have partner-level relationships with our neighbors,” Doğan News Agency quoted Vitko as saying on June 9, during an address at a ceremony held for the Russian Admiral Grigorovich frigate’s arrival at its permanent station at Sevastopol naval base.
Relations between Turkey and Russia have been tense since the former downed a warplane of the latter in November 2015 on the grounds of airspace violation, which led to the death of two pilots. While Turkey says the origin of the plane was not known and the fighter jet had been warned multiple times, Russia denies these claims.
Vitko said there were many countries that were neighboring the Black Sea and that Russia respected them all.
The Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates are designed to attack surface ships and submarines, as well as aerial targets independently or in formation.