Russia Conducts Drills in Black Sea with Eye on Two US Ships
Russia conducts military exercises in the Black Sea naval forces practicing destroying enemy targets, and the Kremlin rejects a US media report about a Russian military buildup near Ukraine.
The Russian naval forces practiced destroying hostile targets in the Black Sea on Tuesday, as Moscow bristled at the presence of two US warships in the area.
The Black Sea fleet said its ships had practiced destroying hostile targets, and their air defense systems had been put on alert at its bases in Novorossiysk and on Crimea, the Interfax news agency reported.
Russian forces could observe the USS Mount Whitney navy command ship "through binoculars or in the crosshairs of its... defense systems," President Vladimir Putin said Monday. The leader also complained about NATO activity near Russia's borders.
Russia had previously warned Western countries against sending warships to the Black Sea and approaching the coast of Crimea. In the meantime, the US Navy said Monday USS Mount Whitney had arrived in Istanbul and would soon join forces with other ships in the Black Sea.
Russia conducted combat training flights over the Black Sea in July in response to the "Sea Breeze" maneuvers the US conducted with more than 30 countries around the world.