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Russia's Black Sea Fleet Monitoring French Frigate Auvergne

© AP Photo / French Defense Ministry/ECPADThis image taken May 23, 2017, and released by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) on Saturday, April 14, 2018, shows the FREMM Auvergne (European multi-purpose frigate) sailing off French coasts
This image taken May 23, 2017, and released by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) on Saturday, April 14, 2018, shows the FREMM Auvergne (European multi-purpose frigate) sailing off French coasts - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.12.2021
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Last week, Russian fighter jets were scrambled to intercept and accompany French Rafale and Mirage-2000 warplanes, as well as a French Air Force C-135 tanker aircraft as they flew over the Black Sea.
Russia's Black Sea Fleet forces are keeping a watchful eye on the French frigate Auvergne, which has entered the Black Sea, the National Defence Control Centre with the Russian Defence Ministry said on Tuesday.
"The forces and means of the Black Sea Fleet began to control the actions of the Auvergne frigate of the French Navy, which is armed with guided missiles […]”, the centre’s representative told reporters.
The statement comes after the Russian Defence Ministry said last week that Su-27 fighters had been scrambled to shadow French Rafale and Mirage-2000 fighter jets, as well as a French Air Force C-135 tanker aircraft as they flew over the Black Sea.
© Sputnik / Виталий Тимкив / Go to the mediabankRussian Su-27 fighter jet
Russian Su-27 fighter jet - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.12.2021
Russian Su-27 fighter jet
“Russian fighter crews identified the aerial targets as two tactical fighters - a Mirage-2000 and a Rafale, as well as a C-135 tanker of the French Air and Space Force, and escorted them over the Black Sea. After the foreign military aircraft turned away from the state border of the Russian Federation, the Russian fighters safely returned to their home base. A violation of the state border was not allowed to occur”, the ministry pointed out.
Although France has not deployed a warship to the Black Sea since September 2020, surveillance flights and missions to probe the security of Russia's maritime borders were conducted in February and May 2021, with Russian jets scrambled to intercept and escort the potential intruders each time.
The deployment of the Auvergne frigate comes as NATO has been beefing up its military foothold in the Black Sea region amid Western media reports that Russia may be planning an “invasion” of Ukraine, allegations that Moscow rejects as unsubstantiated.
Ukrainian soldiers fire missiles with man-portable air-defense systems during exercices near the city of Shchastya, north of Lugansk, on December 1, 2014 - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.12.2021
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On Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Sputnik that the US is “inexplicably fixated on the idea that there is a threat of a ‘Russian invasion’ of Ukraine”.
“This is not the case and cannot be. And what we are doing on our territory simply does not concern them, they have neither the moral nor the political right to raise the issue”, Ryabkov underscored.
The US and its allies have repeatedly accused Russia of a troop buildup at the country’s border with Ukraine as possible preparation for an invasion.
Russia denies the accusations, saying that NATO's military activity near the Russian borders poses a threat to the country’s security and that Moscow reserves the right to move its troops on its own territory.
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