Russia ‘could destroy NATO ships in Black Sea within 20 minutes’


Richard Moore

Russia ‘could destroy NATO ships in Black Sea within 20 minutes’
16:03 | 29/ 08/ 2008
MOSCOW, August 29 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is capable of
destroying NATO’s naval strike group currently deployed in the sea within 20
minutes, a former fleet commander said on Friday. (Russian Navy modernized –
Image gallery)
Russia’s General Staff said on Tuesday there were 10 NATO ships in the Black
Sea – three U.S. warships, the Polish frigate General Pulaski, the German
frigate FGS Lubeck, and the Spanish guided missile frigate Admiral Juan de
Borbon, as well as four Turkish vessels. Eight more warships are expected to
join the group.
“Despite the apparent strength, the NATO naval group in the Black Sea is not
battle-worthy,” Admiral Eduard Baltin said. “If necessary, a single missile
salvo from the Moskva missile cruiser and two or three missile boats would
be enough to annihilate the entire group.”
“Within 20 minutes the waters would be clear,” he said, stressing that
despite major reductions, the Black Sea Fleet (Image gallery) still has a
formidable missile arsenal.
However, Baltin said the chances of a military confrontation between NATO
and Russia in the Black Sea are negligible.
“We will not strike first, and they do not look like people with suicidal
tendencies,” he said.
In addition to its flagship, the Moskva guided missile cruiser, Russia’s
Black Sea Fleet includes at least three destroyers, two guided missile
frigates, four guided missile corvettes and six missile boats.
NATO announced its decision to deliver humanitarian aid to Georgia after the
conclusion of hostilities between Tbilisi and Moscow over breakaway South
Ossetia on August 12. Moscow recognized on Tuesday both South Ossetia and
Abkhazia, another breakaway Georgia republic, despite being urged by Western
leaders not to do so.
Russia’s General Staff later said the alliance’s naval deployment in the
Black Sea “cannot fail to provoke concern”, with unidentified sources in the
Russian military saying a surface strike group was being gathered there.
According to Russian military intelligence sources, the NATO warships that
have entered the Black Sea are between them carrying over 100 Tomahawk
cruise missiles and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.