Published On: Sun, Sep 15th, 2019

Russia places warships on alert as US vessel enters Black Sea | World | News

The Kremlin’s National Defence Management Centre said the US Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ship Yuma sailed into the Black Sea after passing through the Bosphorous Strait last night.

A spokesman said: “The Black Sea Fleet is escorting the US fast transport USNS Yuma that entered the Black Sea’s waters at nearly 17.30 on September 14.”

The spokesman said the American ship hathe purpose of the US mission was unclear and added it was third time the Yuma had entered the Black Sea this year.

Its last visit was to the Ukrainian port of Odessa to participate in the multinational maritime exercise Sea Breeze 2019 in July, which was co-hosted by Ukraine and the US.

The Russian military confirmed the Black Sea Fleet’s forces on duty “are continuously monitoring the US vessel”.

It said its warships had monitored the US Navy’s destroyer Porter and the USS Carney guided missile destroyer in the Black Sea last month and in June.

A Russian Defence Ministry spokesman said: “Under the Montreux international convention, which regulates the transit of Turkish Straits for warships not belonging to Black Sea states, the US destroyer’s stay in the Black Sea must not exceed 21 days.”

Yuma is a multi-purpose non-combat vessel designed for the rapid transfer of troops, cargo and military equipment as well as for humanitarian relief operations.

The ship is armed with four heavy M2 machine guns and CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters can operate from its flight deck.

The US and NATO have recently increased their military presence and enhanced activity in the Black Sea. NATO carried out its Sea Shield 2019 drills in the Black Sea in April.

Russia claims NATO is illegally expanding eastward in Europe in violation of previous promises.

NATO has been building up its military on Russia’s eastern flank, stationing troops in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland in 2017, while US warships have been routinely calling at Black Sea ports.

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