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Russian MoD Denies Incidents With Russian Planes Near US Destroyer in Black Sea

CC0 / U.S. Navy / USS Porter (DDG-78) USS Porter (DDG-78)
USS Porter (DDG-78) - Sputnik International
There were no incidents involving Russian military planes flying near a US destroyer in the Black Sea on February 10, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — US Defense Department spokesperson Michelle Baldanza said earlier on Tuesday that the United States was concerned about the incidents with Russian aircraft flying near the US destroyer in the Black Sea earlier in February.

Baldanza said that several incidents involving the destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) occurred on February 10, when the ship was on a patrol in the Black Sea following the Sea Shield trials. She stressed that the US destroyer queried all Russian aircraft, but did not receive any answer.

"There were no incidents related to a flyby of Russian military aircraft near the USS Porter destroyer in the Black Sea on February 10," Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.

He added that all the flights of Russia's aircraft over the Black Sea had been carried out in line with international regulations and safety requirements.

"If the US destroyer had carried out a 'routine' patrol operation, according to the spokesperson of the Pentagon, in the vicinity of Russia at a distance of tens thousands of miles away from the US coast — it is strange to be surprised at routine flights of our aircraft over the Black Sea," Konashenkov said.

The Sea Shield 2017 maritime drills with the participation of seven NATO member states and Ukraine kicked off in the Black Sea in early February. The drills take place on the territory of 80,000 square kilometers (49,700 square miles). Approximately 2,800 personnel from Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, the United States, Canada, Spain and Ukraine, 16 warships and 10 warplanes will participate in the 10-day exercises.

NATO’s military presence in Eastern Europe has been increasing since April 2014 after conflict broke out in Ukraine, responding to what NATO considers an aggressive Russian foreign policy.

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