Ukraine cannot defuse Black Sea mines, charges NATO with task: Moscow
The Ukrainian army did not learn much from NATO joint exercises, as they failed to defuse mines in the Black Sea and they are now drifting into the Bosporus Strait and the Mediterranean Sea.
Ukraine is unable to defuse its own mines drifting in the Black Sea and has shifted this task on to NATO, Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Mikhail Popov said on Sunday.
"NATO instructors have been actively training Ukrainian soldiers and conducted joint drills with the Ukrainian navy. And exactly one year ago in March, the Ukrainian navy together with NATO fleet performed training of anti-mine forces and equipment," Popov told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, though it seems "they did not learn anything," he added.
"Ukraine cannot defuse drifting mines on its own, by default transferring this task to NATO," Popov added, in another nod to the Ukrainian soldiers not learning anything from the alliance.
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) had warned that the Ukrainian armed forces set about 420 mines close to its seaports, and some of them swept into the sea. The FSB also did not exclude the possibility of those mines getting swept into the Bosphorus Strait, which would pose a danger to maritime navigation into and out of Turkey, and the Mediterranean, which would pose a serious threat to navigation in the region as a whole.
US navy hesitant to enter Black Sea over Ukraine mines
Popov also made another point that served as proof for the stray mines, which is that the US Navy ships will be hesitant to return to the Black Sea in the near future until all the mines are defused.
"They will wait for the complete elimination of the mine danger. The United States has no desire to help its European friends, who are left to face problems that Ukraine does not get tired of creating," he said.
According to Popov, the US Navy has limited capacity to cope with the danger the mines pose, explaining that the US ships that traditionally enter the Black Sea are not intended for de-mining operations.
Yet another reason for the US to leave the Black Sea, Popov added, was that "the US command, apparently, realized that 'teasing the Russian bear' may entail dangerous consequences for themselves."
Russia had launched a special military operation in Ukraine due to NATO's eastward expansion, in addition to the Ukrainian shelling of Donbass, the killing of the people of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Lugansk People's Republic, as well as Moscow wanting to "denazify" and demilitarize Ukraine.