Russia monitoring NATO movements
Wed, 27 Aug 2008 15:21:16 GMT
Destroyer USS McFaul anchors in Georgia’s Black Sea port
Russia warns NATO against the build-up of its naval forces in the Black Sea, saying that the Russian fleet is monitoring their movements.
Deputy Chief of Russia’s General Staff, Anatoly Nogovitsyn, said that despite the large armada of NATO warships in the Black Sea, Russia has no plans to reinforce its fleet in the region.
“The tasks are clear to us and we endeavor to adhere to peacekeeping functions on land. We don’t intend to add any group of forces to the Black Sea Fleet, although we could,” Nogovitsyn said.
The Russian official referred to the 1936 Montreux Convention, saying that further NATO build-up in the Black Sea would lead to the violation of the pre-World War II agreement.
According to the Montreux Convention, countries outside the Black Sea region can only deploy 45,000 tons on the number of warships in the basin.
NATO says the deployment is part of previously planned exercises involving US, German, Spanish and Polish vessels, adding that the ships would also deliver aid to Georgia.
Russia says NATO countries are using humanitarian aid as cover for a build-up of Western naval forces in the strategic waters.
“Normally battleships do not deliver aid and this is battleship diplomacy, this does not make the situation more stable,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow on Tuesday.
NATO has currently deployed 10 ships in the Black Sea, three US warships, the Polish frigate General Pulaski, the German frigate FGS Lubeck, and the Spanish navy ship Admiral Juan de Borbon, as well as four Turkish vessels.
Tension between Russia and the US has been escalating after Georgia’s military offensive into South Ossetia in early August to reclaim the de-facto region, prompted Russia to send its troops into the area.
The conflict in South Ossetia, which claimed the lives of at least 2,000 people and displaced 40,000 others, ended after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a French-brokered ceasefire deal with Georgia on August 12.
Moderator: •••@••.••• (comments welcome)