MOSCOW – Ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet began to escort the USS Porter destroyer, which entered the waters of the southern Black Sea, reported the Russian National Defense Control Center.
The direct control of the actions of the US Navy ship in the Black Sea is being carried out by frigate Admiral Essen and the Vyshny Volochyok and Orekhovo-Zuevo corvettes, the Russian military specified on Saturday.
The commander of the 6th US Fleet, Vice Admiral Lisa Franchetti, said this was a routine operation aimed at showing Washington’s so-called commitment to free navigation.”
This American warship had already been sent to the Black Sea at the beginning of August, and was navigated at the time by the Russian Black Sea Fleet patrol vessel Smetlivy.
This is the seventh entry of US Navy vessels into the Black Sea this year alone.
In July, the area was also visited by USS Carney destroyer, who participated in NATO’s Sea Breeze 2019 naval exercises. On this occasion, the Russian naval forces also guarded the American ship.
Russian warships do not hinder NATO countries and Ukraine from conducting exercises in the Black Sea, closing the maneuvering area to prevent incidents, former Baltic Fleet commander Admiral Vladimir Valuev said last month in an interview.
In an interview with the Ukrainian edition Segodnya, retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, who commanded the US Army in Europe, stated that Russia is supposedly blocking NATO exercises.
When Atlantic Alliance forces announce exercises on the Black Sea, Russia closes the corridors, the US general said, noting that NATO needs to build its forces in the region to guarantee freedom of navigation.
“Before making such statements, the US general should familiarize himself with the rules of operational combat training: the area in neutral waters where the exercises are performed, as well as the airspace above it, is being closed – its coordinates. and closing time are indicated,” said Valuev.
The Russian admiral explained that these measures are being taken to prevent incidents, including missile attacks – during firing training – against civilian ships or aircraft.
Commenting on Hodges’s words about the “temporary blockade” carried out by Russian Black Sea Fleet ships in Odessa, Valuev pointed out that Russian vessels never threatened this Ukrainian port city.
“Odessa has nothing to do with it, this Ukrainian city has 19 km of territorial waters, no one infringes them, and no one is planning to get in there. As a rule, exercise areas are kept away from ports where civilian ships call,” pointed out the admiral.