Russian Diplomat Sees US Claims Regarding Black Sea as Attempt to Shift Responsibility
08:49 GMT 02.08.2021 (Updated: 13:21 GMT 06.08.2022)
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Claims by US Naval Forces Europe-Africa chief regarding Russia's alleged provocations in the Black Sea are dangerous, this is an attempt to shift responsibility for the potential escalation, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Monday.
"This is an extremely dangerous statement. It contains an undisguised threat of using force. Obviously, this is an attempt to shift the responsibility for a possible escalation where it does not belong ... Increasing US presence in close proximity to Russian borders is the root cause of the growing tensions," Grushko said.
The diplomat expressed the belief that restoration of professional military contacts between Russia and NATO could reduce risks of military incidents.
US Naval Forces Europe-Africa Commander Robert Burke claimed recently that Russia is "baiting" the United States into "shooting first" in the Black Sea. The admiral stressed this will not happen "without provocation."
Burke said that both US and NATO fleets operate in the Black Sea "as often as we can."
The deployment of warships in the Black Sea seeks to ensure "peace through presence," Burke added.
Earlier, the Russian military had reported a major escalation in NATO drilling and reconnaissance activity in the Black Sea in recent weeks.