Updated November 18th, 2021 at 13:15 IST

Russia slams US for Black sea drill, calls it 'provocative' attempt to test Moscow's reax

US operations in Black sea lead to a decrease in predictability, and seriously increases the risk of escalation, said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman.

Reported by: Zaini Majeed
IMAGE: AP | Image:self

Having earlier called Western countries’ policies ‘reckless and provocative’ that were responsible for tensions with Kiev, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Wednesday said that Moscow expects the United States to abandon plans to dominate the Black Sea. The remarks came after the US Sixth Fleet (SIXTHFLT), a naval striking group entered the Black Sea with the control ship USS Mount Whitney to hold a joint military operation alongside NATO allies and partners. The move escalated regional tensions between the US and Kremlin, with the latter restricting foreign warships’ movement across several areas in the Black Sea near the Crimean coast in an anticipated worsening of bilateral ties between the two developed countries. 

"This is, of course, an open attempt to test the Russian reaction, to increase tensions in the Black Sea region," Zakharova said at a briefing in remarks cited by Moscow’s state news agency Sputnik. "All this fits into the concept of containment, the creation of some very aggressive situations, the destabilization of the situation in general,” Zakharova asserted.

Further berating the United States provocative move in the Black sea, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said, "This all leads to a decrease in predictability, seriously increases the risk of escalation. I hope that common sense in Washington exists and that it, if available, will prevail over irresponsible plans to achieve dominance in the Black Sea.” 

US accumulates 'negative energy' in region, 'doesn't even wants to listen to us,' says Russian diplomat 

Lodging contestation against the United States and NATO allied forces’ military operations in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, Moscow imposed a ban on vessels from sailing in the Crimean coastline between Sevastopol and Gurzuf, the region close to Kerch Peninsula located near the western tip of Crimea, according to Russian news agency RIA. The Russian Defence Ministry issued a statement, saying that Russia's armed forces have been closely monitoring the movements of US Navy ships in the Black Sea.

In response to Russia's condemnation that the US impedes peace and security in the region, retired Adm. James Foggo III, who led US Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Allied Joint Forces Command, said in a statement, “You’re not there to instigate a fight; you’re there to deter," justifying US and NATO's military activity in the Black Sea region. 

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and lays sovereignty claims on the areas as well as territorial waters which have not been recognised internationally, and the issue has been at the centre of a geopolitical discord between Russia and Ukraine. 

Russia’s ban on foreign vessels in parts of the Black Sea has been criticised by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry as "illegal". The US also lambasted the Kremlin, saying that Russia has a history of “taking aggressive actions against Ukrainian vessels and impeding international maritime transit in the Black Sea, particularly near the Kerch Strait. This would be the latest example of its ongoing campaign to undermine and destabilise Ukraine," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby had told a White House news conference. 

"We [Russia] don’t even have an approximate impression that [the US] even wants to listen to us and to hear us - for example, on Ukraine and all that is currently going on in the Black Sea region,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told TASS. "A negative energy is being accumulated there, the risks are growing, including potential clashes, with the possibility of escalation,” he added. 


Published November 18th, 2021 at 13:15 IST