MOSCOW, Russia: Russia has called on the United States to prevent its naval vessels from approaching Crimea, saying US caution in the area is “for its own good.”
A Russian official went further, calling the U.S. deployments in the Black Sea a provocation designed to test Russian nerves.
Two U.S. warships are scheduled to arrive in the Black Sea this week. This occurs during an escalation of fighting in eastern Ukraine, where 14,000 have died in combat between Russian and Ukrainian forces.
The U.S. deployment comes at a time when the west has been alarmed by a large build-up of Russian forces near Ukraine’s eastern border.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying on Tuesday that US warships in the Black Sea must keep their distance, adding that the risk of incidents is very high.
“There’s absolutely nothing that American ships do near our shores. It’s a purely provocative action. Provocative in the direct sense of the word: they’re testing our strength, playing on our nerves. “They won’t get it,” Ryabkov said. .
“We warn the United States that it will be better for them to stay away from Crimea and our Black Sea coast. It will be for their own good.”
Since then, the Pentagon has responded by saying the U.S. military routinely sends ships to the region.
The Russian Black Sea Fleet is based in Crimea.