07:24 GMT +328 March 2017
    La Fayette

    NATO Buildup Near Russian Borders: French La Fayette Frigate Enters Black Sea

    © REUTERS/ Murad Sezer
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    A French La Fayette class frigate has crossed the Bosphorus Strait towards the Black Sea, French Ambassador to Bulgaria Eric Lebedel said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The frigate will make a stopover in Bulgaria's port city of Varna.

    " … and soon in stopover in Varna! Welcome to Bulgaria!" Lebedel wrote on Twitter on Thursday, commenting on reports of the La Fayette F 710 frigate crossing the Bosphorus Strait.

    ​The La Fayette class, capable of carrying air-defence missiles and designed to accommodate Panther, as well as heavy range helicopters, includes five types of ships, the first of which, F 710, was commissioned in 1996.

    Moscow has repeatedly criticized the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for stirring up regional tensions by deploying its military close to Russian borders.

    Recently, the Sea Shield 2017 maritime drills with the participation of seven NATO member states and Ukraine were held in the Black Sea. The drills took place on the territory of 80,000 square kilometers (49,700 square miles). Approximately 2,800 personnel from Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, the United States, Canada, Spain and Ukraine, 16 warships and 10 warplanes will participate in the 10-day exercises.

    NATO has been increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea since the outbreak of the conflict in southeastern Ukraine in April 2014, in response to what it considers to be Russia's aggressive foreign policy. Moscow has repeatedly dismissed the Ukraine-related accusations leveled at it, warning that increased NATO activities near the country's borders could undermine regional and global stability.


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    La Fayette frigate, NATO, Black Sea, Varna, Bulgaria, France
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    • support
      I do not understand why Russia does not respond in kind by conducting naval exercises in the U.S. St. Lawrence Seaway or Columbia Sound in Washington State (in the case of the latter, so they do not miss this year's smelt run near the Port of Everett).

      In 2000, it was not unusual to find on any given spring or summer day dozens of small fishing boats from the port of Vladivostok stopping over at the Everett commercial fishing vessel marina docks for emergency repairs (both real and fictitious) after weeks of getting pounded on fishing in the Gulf of Alaska (where "perfect storm" is just another synonymous phrase for "normal day at work") . The sailors would trade Siberian tanned fur hides for case lots of American cigarettes, blue jeans and booze then celebrate with their earnings in a dignified manner (sort of, it depended on the bartenders) at the Flying Pig Bar alongside Boeing engineers and the local lovelies.

      Many "ship jumpers" of Russian & Ukrainian origin from the 1970's and 1980's re-settled in the USA there. At the Gardner Wharf so many of the older Russians and Ukes would gather to fish for smelt every day that the city passed an ordinance against them doing so. I still think it is unfair. That is like banning bears from fishing during the salmon runs.

      I hate the way our politicians in the West, to keep their jobs because they have been caught with their fat, grubby, incompetent, lying fingers in the cookie jar, are manufacturing false conflicts to save themselves in hopes of killing off as many American and EU voters as they can.

      None of this "conflict with Russia" BS has anything to do with Russia. It has to do with Americans and EU political boneheads featherbedding and lining their greasy but bespoke-tailored trouser pockets.
    • Alan Reid
      One: NATO having all this gear in motion is very costly, it cost fuel and security. Two: Not having to waist time and energy to engage an enemy that is intent on war is a very prudent thing, hitting an extended force whilst it is off balance and out of safe territory is smart. Three: Russia ENDS wars not starts them.
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