MOSCOW, the Russian Federation (BulgarianMilitary.com) – On Sunday (20th January), a day after the U.S. Navy’s guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook began its north-bound transit of the Dardanelles Strait, moving towards the Black Sea, Alexei Pushkov, a member of Russia’s Upper House Commission on Information Policy, stated on his Twitter page that the U.S. warships should keep away from Russia’s coastline, Reuters reported, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
The statement of the U.S. Navy released on Saturday (19th January) says that the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer heads to Black Sea in order “to conduct maritime security operations and enhance regional maritime stability, combined readiness and naval capability.”
The same day, the National Defence Control Center of the Russian Defence Ministry said that the Russia’s Black Sea Fleet began to monitor the movements of the U.S. guided-missile destroyer, shortly after it entered into the Black Sea (at 8.50 p.m. Moscow time). The monitoring involves the guard ship Pytlivy as well as electronic and technical means of the Fleet.
Read more: Russia’s MoD: The Patrol Ship Pytlivy Monitoring USS Fort McHenry’s Actions in Black Sea
The Russian Defence Control Center adds that in accordance with the Montreux international convention, the the U.S. warship cannot stay in the Black Sea for more than 21 days.
Regarding the recent events, the Russian prominent senator Alexei Pushkov, on Sunday, rejected the U.S. statement by saying that the frequent U.S. warships’ visits to the Black Sea are not motivated by security but by domestic politics, and added they should stay away from the Russian coast.
He writes: “They flaunt their flag, send us a signal, and appease their own senators, who are demanding they send a whole military fleet to the Black Sea. They should keep away from our coastline.”
Last week, the arrest of the 24 Ukrainian sailors captured along with their ships in the Kerch Strait, in November last year, and later, accused of illegally crossing into Russian territory, was extended by three months. Repeatedly, the EU and U.S. have called on Russia to release the sailors, but Kremlin’s response is that they must be put on trial. So far, no date has been set for the trial.
The commanding officer of the U.S. guided-missile destroyer Donald Cook, Cmdr. Matthew J. Powel commented that the U.S. Navy continues to support its allies “in defence of shared regional interests and maritime stability.” According to him their arrival into the Black Sea is a demonstration of the navy’s interoperability while pursuiting common security objectives that enable them “to respond effectively to future crises or deterring aggression.”
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