The US is considering sending warships to the Black Sea in support for Ukraine, MSM reported.
An unnamed official from the Department of Defense told CNN that the Navy is flying reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace over the Black Sea to monitor Russian naval movements.
They said that moving warships into the region would send a message of strength to Russia and put the Kremlin on notice that the US is monitoring the situation.
And “if something changes we will be ready to respond,” the official said.
This goes completely counter to a US warship that was sent away from the region on March 27th.
It left the region on April 2nd, due to the Ever Given blocking the Suez Canal.
The Dwight D. Eisenhower will later sail to the Persian Gulf region.
Under a 1936 treaty giving Turkey control of the straits to enter the Black Sea, the US must give 14 days’ notice of its intent to move ships.
Russia’s defense ministry announced that it was moving more than 10 vessels, including landing boats and artillery warships, from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea to take part in military exercises, Reuters reported.
The frigate Admiral Essen conducted artillery firings in the Black Sea, successfully striking coastal targets at a practice range in Crimea, the Black Sea Fleet’s press office reported on April 8th.
“The crew of the Black Sea Fleet’s frigate Admiral Essen held preparatory and qualification artillery firings on coastal targets located at the Opuk training ground on the Crimean Peninsula. The firings on coastal targets were conducted as part of a final check of the Black Sea Fleet’s forces for the winter training period,” the press office said in a statement.
At the first stage of the firings, the frigate’s artillery units practiced an algorithm of operations. At the second stage, the artillery personnel conducted preparatory firings from the A-190 gun on coastal targets, the statement says.
“As part of holding qualification artillery firings, the personnel successfully struck both visible coastal targets and invisible objects, using navigational data and an auxiliary aiming point,” the press office added, noting that at the next stage the crew of the frigate Admiral Essen would be assessed in carrying out joint drills with fighters of the Black Sea Fleet’s naval aviation for repelling a notional enemy’s air strike.
Intelligence reports indicate Russia is holding training and exercises with no perceived orders for additional military action, but the situation could change quickly, according to the anonymous Defense official cited by CNN.
Since Ukraine began exacerbating the situation in Eastern Ukraine and towards Crimea, and blamed it on Russia, President Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan have since reached out to their Ukrainian counterparts.
U.S. European Command, meanwhile, has raised its alert status to its highest level.
“We call on Russia to make their intentions more clear as to what they’re doing with these array of forces along the border and we continue to call for the ceasefires that were called for by the Minsk Agreement,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said on April 6th.
He added that it was important “to de-escalate the tensions along that border” and “for the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of Ukraine to be respected by Russia.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin this week accused Ukraine of provocative action in the country’s eastern region during a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Putin claimed it was Kiev that was “inflaming the situation there.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow can move its troops at its “discretion.”
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