10:35 GMT25 February 2020
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    Russia's envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko said that a joint NATO Black Sea flotilla does not currently exist.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — Russia's envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko said Friday that Ukraine's intention to join a NATO Black Sea flotilla was obviously premature.

    "A joint NATO Black Sea flotilla does not currently exist. There is nothing to join. This is a typical example of putting the carriage before the horse," Grushko told RIA Novosti commenting on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's recent statement that Kiev was ready to join the NATO Black Sea Flotilla if the Alliance's leadership would support the initiative to create it.

    The Romanian authorities have repeatedly called on NATO to boost the Alliance's military presence in the Black Sea and hopes this initiative to be discussed at the NATO July summit in Warsaw.

    According to Grushko, if Romania's proposal gets NATO support, it will further escalate tensions in the Black Sea region.

    "NATO should be in a position to know that all necessary steps will be taken from our side to neutralize the emerging threats," Grushko added.

    NATO suspended practical civilian and military cooperation with Russia in 2014 amid strained relations over the Ukrainian crisis, with the Alliance accusing Moscow of involvement in the conflict. Russia has repeatedly refuted all allegations.

    Over the past two years, NATO has carried out a number of large-scale military exercises along the Alliance's eastern flank, bordering Russia. Moscow has warned against NATO’s increased military buildup along its border, stating that it is provocative and threatens regional and global stability.

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    Tags:
    NATO, Alexander Grushko, Ukraine, Russia, Black Sea
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