Just days after a high-profile confrontation with a British ship off Crimea, Russia on Monday said it is monitoring the ships taking part in the Sea Breeze military drill in the Black Sea.
Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is carrying out “a set of measures to control the actions of ships of the united navies of NATO and other countries participating in the Sea Breeze-2021 exercise,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The multinational exercise has been held on the territory of Russia’s western neighbor Ukraine since 1997. The organizers of the exercise are Ukraine and the US.
Ukraine and the United States have launched a military exercise involving more than 30 countries in the Black Sea and southern Ukraine, despite Russian calls to cancel the drills.
The Sea Breeze 2021 manoeuvres that began on Monday and will last for two weeks are set to involve about 30 warships and 40 aircraft from US and its NATO allies and Ukraine. US destroyer Ross has arrived in the Ukrainian port of Odessa for the drills.
The opening ceremony for Exercise Sea Breeze 2021 took place in Odesa today. Led by Ukraine and the United States, 32 countries are participating in this year's annual naval exercises in and around the Black Sea.#SeaBreeze2021
(photo: Ministry of Defence of Ukraine) pic.twitter.com/eJUf6ZCnqc
— Michael MacKay (@mhmck) June 28, 2021
The drills follow a rise in tensions between NATO and Moscow, which said last week it had fired warning shots and dropped bombs in the path of a British warship to chase it out of Black Sea waters off the coast of Crimea. The United Kingdom rejected Russia’s account of the incident.
The exercises follow last week’s incident in which Moscow said its navy fired warning shots to chase off a British warship in Black Sea waters off the coast of Crimea.
Russia said the British navy ship violated its territorial waters, while the UK said the ship was making “an innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.”
Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, in a move not recognized by the US, UN General Assembly, or Turkey, among many others.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk