Washington will deploy two battleships to the Black Sea next week Turkey said on Friday as reported by the AP. Russia has amassed its military forces near the Ukrainian border while accusing non-coastal NATO forces of beefing up naval activity in the region.
Meanwhile, Washington reports that Russia has amassed greater military forces on the eastern Ukrainian border than they have at any other time since 2014 when Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine and supported pro-Kremlin separatists in Ukraine’s Donbass region.
Violence has been ignited between Ukrainian forces and the separatists, arousing concerns of a major escalation. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin accused Kievv on Friday of “dangerous provocative actions” in the Donbass region while speaking with Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey, who is a member of NATO, said on Friday that Washington will deploy two battleships to the Black Sea from April 14-15.
“A notice was sent to us 15 days ago via diplomatic channels that two US warships would pass to the Black Sea, in line with the Montreux Convention. The ships will remain in the Black Sea until May 4,” Turkey’s foreign ministry stated.
The Montreux Convention is a 1936 accord that provides Ankara with control over the Dardanelles and Bosporus straits, each of which connects to the Black Sea. The agreement also regulates the movement of naval warships.
The Black Sea is considered to be a flashpoint for brinkmanship between Russia and NATO member states. NATO forces have beefed up their presence in the region amid increased tensions. There have also oftentimes been encounters between naval vessels and aircraft from each side.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko expressed his concerns on Friday over intensified naval activity in the Black Sea by forces that didn’t possess a coastline in the region, seemingly referring to the US.