US and Its Allies Turning Black Sea Into Confrontation Zone, Moscow Says
14:00 GMT 01.07.2021 (Updated: 16:48 GMT 08.01.2023)
© Sputnik / Anton Denisov / Go to the mediabankThe building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on Smolenskaya-Sennaya Square in Moscow.
© Sputnik / Anton Denisov/
Earlier in the day, the Italian Defence Ministry confirmed its Virginio Fasan CGN frigate was participating in Sea Breeze drills, which are taking place in the Black Sea. The ministry added the vessel participated in the exercises as part of routine activity. Russian warships were tracking the vessel when it entered the sea.
The Russian Foreign Ministry stated on 1 July that the US and NATO countries are turning the Black Sea into a confrontation zone, adding that the recent movement by the Dutch navy frigate Evertsen in this area was a dangerous provocation.
"The Black Sea area is consistently being turned by Washington and its allies from the area of cooperation that had been established there, into a zone of military confrontation. This is done deliberately so that another region of the world under the lead of the United States would become unstable," the Russian Foreign Ministry press secretary, Maria Zakharova, said at a briefing on 1 July.
The spokeswoman added that Russia never violated the right to free navigation during the incident with the Dutch ship.
"Considering that the incident with the Evertsen took place the day after the incident with the British destroyer Defender, it would be wrong to deny myself the pleasure of emphasising that the Dutch side acted in a coordinated manner both through NATO and directly in contact with British partners which leads us to conclude that the Dutch frigate's dangerous manoeuvring was also a deliberate provocation," Zakharova said.
On 24 June, the Dutch frigate, which had been in neutral waters, changed course and began to move towards the Kerch Strait. To stop it entering Russian territorial waters illegally, a Su-30 fighter jet and a Su-24 bomber from a unit on duty took to the air. For its part, the Netherlands Defence Ministry said that Russian fighter jets caused a "dangerous situation" near the Evertsen in the Black Sea.
The UK’s HMS Defender entered Russia's territorial waters in the Black Sea in late June, prompting the Russian navy to fire warning shots. London denied the shots were fired at all, even though Russia's security service released video footage of the encounter, confirming Moscow's account of events. Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier called the incident a "provocation".