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Russia tracks US missile destroyer in Black Sea amid rising tensions with NATO


Russia says its navy has been tracking the movement of a guided- destroyer that entered the as tensions escalate between Moscow and NATO. 

The Russian Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that the Black Sea Fleet was tracking the movements of USS Porter after the US Navy tweeted on Friday that the destroyer had begun its northbound transit to the Black Sea to operate with NATO allies and partners in the region.

The US Navy said NATO members began operations in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea to demonstrate “NATO’s commitment to maintaining freedom of navigation in international waters.”

The development comes shortly after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu warned that NATO is gradually amassing forces near Russia’s borders after defense ministers from the Western military alliance agreed on a new defensive strategy against Russia on multiple fronts.

NATO’s new plan came days after Moscow shut its to NATO and the alliance’s mission in Moscow after the alliance expelled eight Russian diplomats over espionage allegations. Russia denied the spying allegations as groundless.

Meanwhile, videos on social media in recent days show Russian military trains and convoys moving large quantities of military hardware, including tanks and missiles, in southern and western borders.

The military buildup raised concerns among the Western countries, described the move as irregular.

“The point is,  It is not a drill. It doesn’t appear to be a training exercise. Something is happening. What is it?” said Michael Kofman, director of the Russia studies at the US-based nonprofit analysis group CNA.

Kofman said satellite imagery shows that forces from the Russian army normally based in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, did not return to Siberia after the exercises, and instead linked up with other Russian forces near the Ukrainian border.

and other top Russian officials have repeatedly warned that the expansion of NATO activities in represents a “red line” for Moscow.

Putin noted previously that Ukraine was being functionally controlled by Western nations to foment anti-Russian sentiment.

“We will never allow our historical territories and people close to us living there to be used against Russia,” he wrote in an article in July. “And to those who will undertake such an attempt, I would like to say that this way they will destroy their own country,” he added.

Ukraine as well as the EU and the US claim Russia has a hand in an ongoing conflict that erupted in the Donbass region of Ukraine between government forces and ethnic Russians in 2014. The imposed sanctions on Russia after accusing it of interfering in the conflict. Moscow denies the allegation.



Source link:presstv

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