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Russian ships watch US vessel in Black Sea

Christian Fernsby |
Russian ships are watching the destroyer of the U.S. Navy Ross Monday after entering the Black Sea, according to the Defense Ministry (Mindef).

Patrol vessel Vasili Bikov and the radio-tracking vessel Ivan Kurs are in charge of closely watching the U.S. warship, Mindef said.

More than 30 aircraft, including fighters, bombers and helicopters from Russia's Black Sea fleet, took part last week in maneuvers off the coast of the Crimea.

Russian troops exercise, with the participation of about 300 soldiers, took place amid the war games carried out in the Black Sea by ships of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

During a recent meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers, the United States proposed the possibility of vessels from that block escorting vessels from the Ukrainian Navy as they pass through the Kerch Strait towards the Sea of Azov.

Moscow considered such an announcement as an open provocation of the Atlantic alliance, as they know this nation will in no way remain with its arms crossed, if any warship attempts to pass through the strait, according to the Russian authorities.

Agreements signed between Russia and Ukraine consider the Azov Sea as a shared basin and for the exclusive use of those two countries.

Retired General Leonid Ivashov believes that a NATO provocation in the Black Sea would seek to halt the rapprochement between Russia and Turkey to force Ankara to get involved in a regional conflict with Moscow in that basin.

According to the Head of the Academy of Strategic Problems, this would abort the completion of the Turkish Torrent gas pipeline that Ankara and Moscow are building together.

For Serguei Sudakov, of the Military Sciences Academy, a provocation from the Atlantic alliance would seek a strong response from Moscow to justify its presence in the region and create another pretext for more Western sanctions against this nation.

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