MOSCOW, February 10 /TASS/. Russia’s former Black Sea Fleet commander Vladimir Komoyedov warned NATO on Wednesday that the 1936 Montreux Convention restricted the time of stay of foreign warships in the Black Sea.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said earlier on Wednesday that NATO would continue adapting and building up its military capabilities in the Black Sea region, including its naval forces, intelligence means and possibilities for redeploying reinforcements.
"First of all, the Black Sea is a closed theatre. It is an internal sea, in fact, which is connected to the Mediterranean Sea by straits," Komoyedov told TASS on Wednesday in response to Stoltenberg’s words.
"There are rules of use and there is the Montreux Declaration, which specifies the duration of stay [of foreign warships in the Black Sea]," Komoyedov said adding that the warships of non-Black Sea states could stay there no longer than 21 days.
"Territorially, it [NATO] will certainly build up its forces - in Turkey, in Bulgaria and in Romania," Komoyevov, who heads the Russian State Duma Defense Committee, said.
He agreed that NATO would certainly wish to strengthen and reinforce its Black Sea group. "However, it does not mean that 20, 30 or 50 warships are going to appear there," the deputy explained.
"We have enough forces capable of monitoring the situation and passing decisions depended on the situation," Komoyedov added.
He said it was too early to speak about a naval balance in the Black Sea. "We still need time to create this balance. A lot of things need to be built, replaced and repaired," Komoyedov said when speaking about Russian naval forces.