Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Russia Demands US Scrap ‘Aggressive’ Black Sea Naval War-Games, Warning Drills Fuel Tensions, Increase Risk of Deadly Incidents - FARS

Sea Breeze drills

(FNA)- Moscow’s diplomatic mission in Washington reacted furiously to news that American sailors are set to take part in major war games in the Black Sea, practicing naval battles and troop landings, close to Russia’s coastline.

In a statement posted to Twitter on Wednesday, the Russian Embassy said that “the scale and aggressive nature of the ‘Sea Breeze’ exercises in no way helps with the real challenges of ensuring security in the Black Sea region”, RT reported.

Ukrainian forces will also take part in the drills.

According to the envoys, the NATO drills will “increase the risk of unintentional incidents” and simultaneously “encourage militaristic sentiments in Kiev”.

A spokesman for the US Sixth Fleet had previously stated that Washington is “proud to partner with Ukraine in co-hosting the multinational maritime exercise”. The Russian diplomats went on to urge the US and other NATO members “to refuse to practice military operations in the Black Sea”. Instead, they noted, multilateral formats that aim to preserve peace in the sensitive area should be championed.

 “Any problems in the region can be championed by Black Sea states without the need to ‘impose’ outside assistance,” the embassy added.

Vessels and personnel from 32 separate nations will participate in the Sea Breeze drills, including both the US and Ukraine, as well as the UK, France, Poland, Georgia, Senegal, South Korea, Pakistan, Japan, and Morocco, among others.

The war games will run from June 28 to July 10 and, according to US military chiefs, will see sailors rehearse “multiple warfare areas including amphibious warfare, land maneuver warfare, diving operations, maritime interdiction operations, air defense, special operations integration, anti-submarine warfare, and search and rescue operations”.

Russian sailors conducted a series of their own exercises off the country’s South coast in April. Destroyers, landing vessels, and hovercraft took part in the wargames, which were announced shortly after reports that the US had ordered two warships into the region amid tensions over the shared border between Russia and Ukraine.

In November last year, American missiles capable of striking Crimea landed in the waters of the Black Sea as part of US-led military drills. The rocket launch tests fired from Romania were designed to show off the new high-tech HIMARS systems, but sparked outrage from Crimean politicians.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has launched naval exercises in the Crimean Peninsula, as US and NATO warships conduct joint drills in the strategic Black Sea, ratcheting up tensions in the region.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that the Bal and Bastion coastal missile systems stationed in Crimea had fired missiles into the Black Sea, as part of an exercise to destroy a simulated enemy surface ship in the strategic waters.

“In the course of the exercise, the servicemen practiced the algorithm of measures to deliver missile strikes against a simulated enemy’s warship by electronic launches,” the ministry added.

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