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Kremlin: Ongoing US-NATO Warship Drills In Black Sea Aim To “Contain Russia”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

A pair of large US warships, including a guided-missile destroyer, are currently navigating the Black Sea as part of ongoing NATO drills which included regional partners. Currently the USS Mount Whitney and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter are at Georgia’s Batumi port as part of the Naval Forces Europe-Africa 6th Fleet mission.

Over the weekend the Kremlin said it was alarmed at the Black Sea maneuvers given the American warships “have long-range precision weapon systems on board” and that the US is there “to probe us, to check our readiness”according to remarks by Russian defense minister Sergey Shoigu.


USS Porter and USS Mount Whitney file image, US Navy

Additionally fresh remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday described these latest NATO drills as designed to contain Moscow. The Naples-based US Sixth Fleet at the same time kicked off large-scale Mediterranean drills. 

“I think that NATO exercises are connected with the desire of the United States and its allies to follow the policy of containment of Russia in spite of everything that was said in the 1990s and was included in the Russia-NATO Founding Act, which was completely violated in its key part,” Lavrov told a press briefing. 

Interestingly when the first of the pair of US warships entered the Black Sea, specifically US amphibious command vessel at the close of October, Vladimir Putin urged the Russian armed forces to beef up readiness in the Black Sea region, given the increased NATO presence in Russia’s backyard. 

Putin commented at the time: “Just recently, as you know, a US ship entered the Black Sea – it could be seen through binoculars or through the sight of our defense systems.”

The comments also came after the latest Russian jet intercept incident of a US long-range bomber over the area, which had coincided with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s provocative trip to Kiev last month. 

On the need to ramp up aerial defenses in particular, Putin had described: “This need has been prompted by the leading countries’ developing innovative strike weapons with advanced speed parameters.”

“The general military-political situation also requires further effort, prompted partly by the increasing numbers of NATO flights close to Russia, and NATO ships with guided missiles appearing in the Baltic and Black Seas,” he said. Russia has of late been holding its own counter-drills, also at a moment Western media reports have accused Moscow of pursuing a new troop build-up near the border with Ukraine. 


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