Skip to comments.NATO-Russian naval controntation on tap in Black Sea?
Posted on 08/26/2008 4:09:32 AM PDT by maquiladora
Tbilisia/Kiev/Moscow - A NATO-Russia naval confrontation in the Black Sea appeared days away on Tuesday, after American officials announced a US warship would attempt to enter a Georgian port controlled by Russian army and naval forces. US fleet elements will in coming weeks unload humanitarian aid in the Russia-controlled Georgian port Poti, US embassy spokesman Stephen Guice said in remarks widely reported by Georgian media.
The American announcement setting the stage for a direct US-Russia naval confrontation came against a background of continuing high tensions in the region in the wake of the Russia-Georgia conflict and with both Russia and NATO rushing warships into the Black Sea.
The first NATO naval vessel to sail into the region was the destroyer USS McFaul, arriving to take up station off Georgia's Black Sea coast on August 24.
Moscow officials called the US warship's presence near the Georgian port Batumi "provocative" and "unhelpful," pointing out the presence of a squadron of Russia's Black Sea fleet stationed only some 50 kilometres north, in the vicinity of the Georgian port Poti.
US officials said the American destroyer was landing humanitarian aid in Batumi, the only Georgian seaport currently not under Russian control.
Russian marines captured Georgia's main port Poti during the first week of the Russo-Georgian war, sinking Georgia's tiny navy and later demolishing practically all Georgian military infrastructure in the vicinity.
Russia's army continues to operate road checkpoints controlling movement between Poti and the former Soviet republic interior, blocking most trade between Georgia and western nations.
NATO nations have in recent days quietly upped their naval presence in the Black Sea, adding support to the US destroyer.
A Polish warship, according to unconfirmed Turkish media reports a minesweeper, reportedly accompanied the McFaul as the two ships passed the Bosphorus, and is operating off Georgia's coast.
The US coast guard cutter Dallas is en route to Batumi and will joun the US destroyer within the week, Georgia's Rustaveli-2 television reported.
Also en route to join the de facto NATO squadron operating in the Black Sea are the German frigate Luebeck, the Spanish frigate Admiral Juan den Borbon, and five other NATO warships including possibly an attack submarine, Kremlin officials have claimed.
NATO officials have confirmed ships are en route or are already in the Black Sea, but have said the warship concentration is because of a planned "peacekeeping" exercise off the coasts of Romania and Bulgaria.
A small Turkish warship squadron was reportedly also stationed off the Turkish coast to the south of Batumi, according to Georgian media reports.
The Kremlin has harshly criticised the NATO naval buildup, and has repeatedly made public the names and destinations of NATO warships moving into the region, well before Brussels' official acknowledgement.
NATO currently has a total eight warships operating in the Black Sea, with a ninth frigate en route and expected on Georgia station in the next few days, Russian naval officials citing maritime intelligence said Tuesday.
But Moscow also has responded to the apparent - if officially denied - NATO naval challenge by spiking its own Black Sea warship levels.
The flagship of Russia's Black Sea fleet, the guided missle cruiser Moscow, put to sea on Monday after returning to its home base port Sevastopol, Ukraine.
The Moscow's sortie back into the Black came a mere 72 hours after the giant warship returned to the Crimea peninsula from Georgian waters. Normally, Sevastopol-based Russian warships spend most of the year in port, and take to open waters after months of preparation.
Russian general staff spokesmen denied point blank that the rapidity of the return to sea of the massive cruiser, a warship twice the size of NATO's largest warship in the region the USS McFaul, had anything to do with a US naval presence off Georgia.
Russia had been planning a naval exercise in the Black Sea "for months ahead of time," and the Moscow's departure "was part of normal planned training," deadpanned Anatoliy Nagovitsyn, vice Chief of Russia's general staff, at a Moscow press conference.
The cruiser Moscow will lead a squadron of as many of 18 Russian warships operating in the general vicinity of, but not interfering with the NATO flotilla, Nagovitsyn said.
Russian warships on Tuesday docked in Sukhumi, the capital of the Russia-allied Georgian renegade province Abkhazia, on Tuesday morning, he added, according to an Interfax news agency report.
In Harm’s Way ping.
It wont be NAYO...we stand alone.
We stand alone and hold the NAYO.
Well... I’ve been “AFK” a few days.
This is not looking good. I think tswhtf shortly.
Everyone keeps denying anything will happen, but they keep pushing.
Now they are attempting to interfere with US Warships bringing supplies to an area the Russians tore up.
That’s a no-no. I don’t know many Naval Captains that will lets the Russians board them. Not without a fight.
Pacific Fleet scheduled exercise begins on Kamchatka
PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, August 26 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian Pacific Fleets scheduled exercise has begun on Kamchatka, the headquarters of the fleets grouping told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
Coastal defence units will hold firing drills at the Radygino range near Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Ships and submarines will train how to repulse an attack of an imaginary enemy at sea. They will also master missile and artillery firing.
Aircraft and missile defence units are also engaged in the exercise.
This maybe a humanitarian mission but we'd better be loaded for bear. I hope we have some air cover or other aces up our sleeves.
NATO Navy has extraordinary activity in Black Sea-Gen Staff
MOSCOW, August 26 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian armys General Staff is bewildered by the extraordinary activity of the NATO Naval forces in the north-eastern sector of the Black Sea, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Colonel-General Anatoly Nogovitsyn said at a press conference on Tuesday. According to him, there are currently nine warships of NATO countries in the region.
And another frigate of the US Navy entered the Bosporus yesterday at 23:30, the official added. Nogovitsyn forecasted that the arrival of eight more NATO ships is expected in the area shortly.
I’ve been saying, and have said it here several times, these are “plays from the Cold War Play book”.... and they are. This is exactly a scenario we worried about in those days of yore.
Looks like Yore is Tomorrow now. Or today.
Lemme see, I’m headed for Jamaica in a few days.
With a little luck a hurricane won’t hit, and if the missiles fly, I’ll be getting myself a ship and becoming a pirate :)
Fox is reporting that the Russian President just stated they were not “blocking US ships” and further “but we all know they aren’t bringing in humanitarian assistance”... Fox reporter further said he believed the Russian president believes the US is taking in weapons.
Fox just verified what I thought I heard. President Mededev is stating he believes the US is bringing weapons in.
There is currently a US Destroyer sailing into the Black Sea through the straits at Turkey (I believe from the description).
Hot Water Ping.
Thats just great.
Someone tell me again why we are sending warships into the Black Sea? How is any of this crap in Georgia in any way remotely related to our national security?
The founding fathers are ROLLING in their graves.
We need to tell that little Soros poodle to shut up. He is trying to get us into his little war by these statements.
Suck it, Moscow.
I hope we taking in a lot of advanced weapons that will kill a lot of Russian scum if they start getting aggressive again.
This is a very polite way of saying that the Russian Navy isn't fit for service 3/4 of the time.
Hmmm... Well, IF you bother to read history you would perhaps have a better understanding of the situation.
There certainly are a number of reasons for us to be involved. However, I’m not going to try to explain it when you are invoking the names of the Founding Fathers “turning over in their graves”.
Indeed, given the circumstances of WWI and WWII I’d say they not only would not be “turning over in their graves” they would be standing strong behind our actions.