ROME, October 31. /TASS/. The US naval flag demonstration in the Black Sea does not add to global stability, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome on Sunday.
Russia’s top diplomat thus commented on a decision by the US Sixth Fleet to send its flagship, command and control ship USS Mount Whitney to the Black Sea for joint operations with NATO countries.
When asked about whether Moscow was notified beforehand about these maneuvers, Russia’s top diplomat replied "it is not a matter of notifying in advance, this concerns fulfilling the international law norms for ships of non-littoral states to enter the Black Sea."
"These issues are regulated by the Montreux Convention, under which the states of the flag of a particular warship must notify the Turkish authorities. As far as I know, these rules are complied with. At least, we keep a close eye on these rules to be observed," he added.
"As a whole, the US naval flag demonstration in the Black Sea is not the sole case, of course. The United States directly announced on several occasions that the need for its warships to enter these waters was prompted by the tasks of deterring Russia and preventing the creation of alleged risks from Russia in the Black Sea for US allies. This, of course, does not add to stability," the Russian foreign minister said.
The Americans are actively trying to push Black Sea littoral countries that are NATO members towards pursuing such quite confrontational policy, "talk about creating new naval bases on the Black Sea coast of Romania or Bulgaria," Lavrov said.
"I don’t think that this will meet the interests of good neighborly relations in the Black Sea region," Russia’s top diplomat stressed.
Readiness to fend off any threats
Russia is ready to fend off any threats and can reliably ensure its security in the Black Sea, Lavrov said.
"We are ready for any threats. For us, there exist no problems to reliably ensure the security of Russian territory and security in the Black Sea. But we always stand for promoting cooperation projects instead of projects based on confrontation," Russia’s top diplomat said.
The Russian foreign minister mentioned the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization that united not only the littoral countries but also other states from that region and EU states.
"We favor cooperation and not tension escalation to be the basis for relations between states in that part of the region," Lavrov said.