Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Black Sea: Update--Moscow Denies It Approached Canadian Frigate During NATO Exercises

According to AFP, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday (September 9) that its aircraft did not engage in "unnecessarily provocative" tactics as it approached a Canadian frigate on a NATO mission in the Black Sea. 
Moscow said an Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft and an Antonov An-26 transport plane were carrying out "planned flights over neutral waters of the Black Sea near the Russian Federation's state border."
"The flightpaths of the Russian Air Force ran through an area where the HMCS Toronto was operating, without approaching the foreign military vessel," Russian Major General Konashenkov told Russian news agencies.
COMMENT: The Russian government's systematic distortion of the truth regardless of the foreign country involved is becoming a predictable reality. If they could only be a bit more transparent or simply tell the truth, such as the presence of Russian forces in the Ukraine since the invasion occurred.
Even when confronted by NATO satellite photos, the Russians deny the facts.
Canadian Defense Minister Rob Nicholson said on Monday (September 8) that a Russian military plane had circled over the "HMCS Toronto," a Canadian frigate in the Black Sea, where NATO and the Ukraine are holding naval exercises.
The Russian aircraft "did not in any way pose a threat to the Canadian ship," Nicholson said but added that "their actions were unnecessarily provocative and risk escalating tensions even further" in the region.
The "HMCS Toronto" left Canada's Atlantic coast at the end of July with 250 sailors and Sea King helicopters aboard to join the NATO mission.
Russia and the West are locked in a dramatic standoff over the crisis in Ukraine where Kremlin-backed separatists are battling against pro-Western Kiev authorities.
Ukraine said on Monday it had launched three-day naval exercises with US-led NATO forces in the Black Sea aimed at guaranteeing its security.