12:00 GMT09 April 2020
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    The US and its Western European allies regularly send warships to the Black Sea, with other NATO countries bordering the body of water including Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey maintaining a sizable permanent presence in the region.

    NATO warships sailing near Russia’s borders in the Black Sea around the Crimean peninsula are virtually incapable of carrying out any useful reconnaissance thanks to the Russian military’s powerful coastal electronic warfare systems, a source in the region’s security apparatus has said.

    Commenting on the alliance’s “attempt to penetrate” the region’s “communications and digital networks,” the source indicated that this was made impossible as a result of the deployment and real-world testing of the latest electronic warfare countermeasures.

    “As a result [of these measures] NATO warships turn around and leave,” the official said.

    According to the source, Russia’s electronic countermeasures are powerful enough not only to make snooping impossible, but to screw up warships’ navigation systems, resulting in false readings on their current coordinates.
    Murmansk-BN radio-electronic warfare systems of the same type deployed in Crimea
    © Sputnik / Pavel Lvov
    Murmansk-BN radio-electronic warfare systems of the same type deployed in Crimea

    The US and its NATO allies have substantially increased their reconnaissance patrols along Russia’s borders in recent years, deploying dozens of warships in the Black Sea and sending hundreds of drones and spy planes on intelligence-gathering missions around Crimea, the home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

    Late last month, the US deployed the USS Ross guided-missile destroyer into the body of water for drills. The Russian Navy assured observers that it had the capabilities to monitor the warship’s movement. Earlier this month, the Russian military reported detecting 25 foreign aircraft engaged in reconnaissance activities near the country’s borders, with fighters scrambled twice to prevent illegal entry into Russian airspace.

    Moscow has repeatedly condemned the US and its NATO allies over their maritime exercises, drone and spy plane flights and bomber drills near Russia’s borders, warning that such behaviour only serves to stoke tensions. The alliance has so far ignored these objections.

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