A video showing NATO warships’ passage into the Black Sea was published by the Turkish news agency Demirören Haber Ajansı on Twitter.
NATO'ya bağlı 3 savaş gemisi İstanbul Boğazından peş peşe geçiş yaptı. Boğaz geçişini tamamlayan gemiler Karadeniz'e açıldı. Gemilerin geçişine sahil güvenlik botları da eşlik etti. pic.twitter.com/gujkqnSquf
— Demirören Haber Ajansı (@dhainternet) March 28, 2019
“Three NATO warships crossed the Bosphorus one after the other. Ships completing the Bosphorus crossing entered the Black Sea. Ships were accompanied by coast guard boats.”
The Boshoprus Observer also showed photographs of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, with the Santa Maria class ESPS Santa Maria F81 which transited the Bosphorus.
— Yörük Işık (@YorukIsik) March 28, 2019
RIA Novosti repoted that the Netherlands Navy destroyer Evertsen, the Canadian frigate Toronto, and the Spanish frigate Santa Maria entered the Black Sea. On the way they were accompanied by a Turkish frigate “Gelibolu”.
In addition, the French tanker Var arrived in Istanbul with a group of warships but did not enter the Black Sea.
The ships are planning to carry out the operation Sea Shield together with the Ukrainian and Georgian military.
“Sea Shield is an annual multinational exercise taking place in the Black Sea and based on a fictitious crisis response scenario. The exercise is designed to test, conduct, analyze and evaluate Anti-Submarine Warfare activities through the employment of Anti-Submarine Underwater Warfare, Anti-Air Warfare and Maritime Counter Mining. This is to improve the interoperability and combat proficiency of participating units.”
On March 25th, to observe the exercise, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrived in Georgia.
He said the exercise shows how NATO and Georgia are stepping up their cooperation. Georgia is one of NATO’s closest partners, working with the Alliance on security in the Black Sea region. Georgia is also the largest non-NATO contributor to the Alliance’s training mission in Afghanistan and it contributes to the NATO Response Force.
On March 27th, the NATO Military Committee and its Chairman, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach also visited Tbilisi, Georgia ahead of the NATO-Georgia-Ukraine exercises.
Air Chief Marshal Peach reiterated NATO’s support to Georgia and urged Russia to release its hold on the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The chairman added that “Russia must withdraw its troops from Georgia’s occupied regions and must learn to respect Georgia’s sovereignty, territory and internationally recognised borders.”
“Our Georgian colleagues are leading this multinational crisis response exercise. Thanks to exercises like this one and military cooperation Georgian forces are more interoperable than ever before with NATO troops. This underlines the mutual commitment to strong defence, interoperability and shared approach to international security”, highlighted Air Chief Marshal Peach.
RIA Novosti reminded of earlier reports that claimed Spanish and Canadian frigates in the composition of the permanent naval group of NATO will arrive on April 1st in the port of Odessa.
In accordance with the 1936 International Convention of Montreux, warships of non-Black Sea states are entitled to stay in its water area for no more than 21 days.
In February 2019, the US Navy’s missile destroyer the USS Donald Cook visited Odessa.
“Since arriving in the Black Sea on February 19th the ship’s crew conducted maritime interoperability training exercises with the Turkish navy. These operations enhance regional maritime stability, combined readiness and naval capability with our NATO allies and Black Sea partners. This is the fourth U.S. ship visit to Odessa since January 2018.”
The training tested how the bombers can conduct missions out of Fairford and will familiarise aircrews with operations over Europe, including the Norwegian Sea, Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean.
NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu welcomed the deployment, saying that deploying massive bombers, which patrol around Russia’s border is simply routine conduct:
“This is a routine deployment, but it shows that the US nuclear umbrella protects Europe and demonstrates the unique capabilities the US could bring to Europe in a crisis. The B-52 deployment is yet another sign that the United States is strongly committed to NATO.”
On the other side, Russia’s National Defense Management Center said its monitoring the movements of the NATO Maritime Group.
According to the Center, “the Black Sea Fleet is monitoring the movement of a group of three NATO vessels that entered the Black Sea, which belong to the Netherlands, Canada and Spain.”
“The Ivan Khurs and Vasily Bykov ships from the Russian Navy are monitoring the movement of the NATO vessels,” the Center added.
RIA Novosti published maps showing NATO’s militarization of Europe, according to it, the following is present:
Following are maps showing their placements in he respective countries, which clearly shows the focus of placements near the border with Russia:
In addition, NATO has a military base in Western Ukraine and in southern Serbia, as well several training facilities in Georgia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and other countries that are simply NATO “partners,” and are at Russia’s borders or near Russia.
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