According to Turkish diplomatic sources, the US Embassy in Ankara has notified the Turkish Foreign Ministry of the cancellation of the decision to send the ships.
Turkish diplomatic sources told Reuters that the United States had reversed an earlier decision to send two warships to the Black Sea amid concerns about a Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s borders.
Washington and Brussels are alarmed by the accumulation of Russian troops near the Ukraine border and in the Ukrainian Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014. Last week, Turkey said Washington was sending two warships to the Black Sea. Russia called the move an “unfriendly provocation.”
Sources of the Reuters news agency claim that the US Embassy in Ankara notified the Turkish Foreign Ministry about the cancellation of ships’ sending without specifying the reason.
Sources in the US administration, according to Reuters, say that Turkey most likely misinterpreted the initial notification since the sending of ships to the Black Sea was never confirmed by Washington. According to the sources, the United States often notifies Turkey about the potential entry of its ships into the Black Sea. However, the request does not necessarily mean the imminent passage of ships – it is rather a guarantee that ships can enter the water area if necessary.
Russia, which has already warned the US to stay “away from Crimea” and its Black Sea coast, says the build-up of forces on the border with Ukraine is taking place as part of a three-week emergency military exercise to test combat readiness in response to “threatening behavior from NATO.” The Kremlin assures that the exercises should be completed within the next two weeks.
After reports surfaced about the possible dispatch of US warships, the Russian Navy on Wednesday began exercises in the Black Sea, during which shooting at surface and air targets was practiced. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday called on Moscow to stop the troop buildup.
On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Joe Biden called on Russia to withdraw its troops from the Ukrainian borders.
The White House said on Tuesday that Biden, during a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, proposed holding a bilateral summit to resolve the disputed issues and recommended that Moscow reduce the degree of tension in its relations with Kyiv.