13:29 GMT +320 November 2019
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    US Navy personnel are pictured aboard the USS Destroyer Donald Cook at the Constanta shipyard in the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta

    NATO Ships Returning to Mediterranean After Black Sea Exercises

    © AFP 2019 / PETRUT CALINESCU
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    The training included anti-air and anti-surface warfare tactics, ship handling maneuvers, communication drills, live fire gunnery exercises and simulated air-defense exercises.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — NATO ships have completed training with the Romanian Navy in the Black Sea and will return to the Mediterranean later in the month, NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) announced in a statement on Wednesday.

    “NATO ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) recently completed exercises in the Black Sea with ships from the Romanian Navy, the MARCOM statement read.

    Later in the month, the training group will revisit the Mediterranean to resume patrols before starting another round of multinational exercises, according to the statement.

    The training included anti-air and anti-surface warfare tactics, ship handling maneuvers, communication drills, live fire gunnery exercises and simulated air-defense exercises.

    “This exercise was a unique opportunity to work alongside our Romanian Allies,” Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Hamm said in the MARCOM statement on Wednesday.

    “Exercises like this give us a chance to strengthen our interoperability and ensure that we will be able to support any mission that NATO might require of us in the future,” he added.

    NATO’s Marine Group Two also conducted training exercises with the Turkish and Bulgarian Navies while deployed to the Black Sea, according to the statement.

    NATO has been increasing its military presence close to Russian borders since March 2014 after Crimea reunified with Russia. In the summer of 2014, the alliance dispatched a record number of nine vessels to the Black Sea, coupled with reinforcing its air patrolling missions in Baltic airspace.

    Russian officials have said the presence of US military vessels in the Black Sea is contrary to Washington’s commitment for a peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian conflict. Increased military presence close to a regional conflict zone is a very dangerous maneuver that could lead to different unpleasant consequences, according to Moscow.

    Tags:
    NATO, military drills, military exercises, NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM), United States, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Romania
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