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.
…et bientôt en escale à Varna! Bienvenue en 🇧🇬! https://t.co/NtxsQ81icd— Eric Lebédel (@EricLebedel) 16 марта 2017 г.
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.
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.