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PRESS RELEASE


NATO Deploys Ships, Escalates Military Tensions in the Black Sea

March 5, 2015 (EIRNS)—Yesterday, NATO deployed four ships from its Standing Maritime Group Two into the Black Sea. The four ships—the U.S. Navy’s USS Vicksburg, flagship of the group; the Turkish frigate Turgutreis; the Canadian frigate Fredericton; and the Italian frigate Aliseo—are to participate in training that will include simulated anti-air and anti-submarine warfare exercises, as well as simulated small boat attacks and basic ship handling maneuvers, reports a NATO release. "The training and exercises we will conduct with our Allies in the Black Sea prepares us to undertake any mission NATO might require to meet its obligations for collective defense," said commander Adm. Brad Williamson. "We are here at the invitation of the Turkish, Bulgarian and Romanian governments and look forward to enhancing our interoperability with their navies."

It won’t be just NATO that will be training, however. Russian combat aircraft assigned to the Black Sea Fleet will also conduct training. "These ships’ crews are doubtlessly conducting exercises in repelling air attacks from our planes, which gives our pilots the opportunity to gain experience in maneuvering and conducting aerial reconnaissance both in the range of anti-air systems and outside their range," a Russian Navy source in Sevastopol told RIA Novosti. The Russian pilots will be flying Su-30 fighters and Su-24 attack aircraft from the Novofedorovka air base in Crimea.

The Russian Defense Ministry also announced, today, air defense exercises in the Southern Military District, which borders southeastern Ukraine and the Black Sea. The exercise is set to last about a month and involves 2,000 troops with 500 pieces of equipment.