MOSCOW, July 07. /ITAR-TASS/. The US missile cruiser Vella Gulf has entered the Black Sea, a source in the Russian Navy’s Main Staff told ITAR-TASS on Monday, July 7.
“At about 06.20pm (local time), USS Vella Gulf passed thorugh the strait and entered the Black Sea,” he said. “The number of NATO ships in the Black Sea has thus increased to seven.”
The official said he was surprised to hear that the official reason for the US warship’s call is participation in an exercise of NATO mine clearing forces.
A military-diplomatic source in Moscow told ITAR-TASS earlier in the day that the Russian sailors participating in their own naval maneuvres in the Black Sea would watch the NATO ships which have arrived in the region for the Breeze 2014 exercises with Bulgaria.
An Italian frigate and a minesweeper, Turkish and British minesweepers, a Greek corvette, and a French frigate were spotted in the Black Sea in the morning of July 7 off Russia’s Caucasus, the Russian Navy official said.
NATO ships entered the Black Sea at the end of last week. On the same day, Russia's Defense Ministry announced the beginning of maneuvres with some 20 ships, over 20 aircraft and helicopters and marines and coastal artillery units. The ministry said the area of the exercises would cover the whole Black Sea.