The United States is considering sending warships to the Black Sea in the next few weeks to support Kyiv amid a growing Russian military presence near Ukraine’s eastern border. CNN reported this, citing a representative of the US Department of Defense.
According to the source, the US Navy ships from time to time enter the Black Sea, but the deployment of warships at this moment will be a kind of warning signal for Moscow.
In accordance with the 1936 treaty, according to which Turkey controls the Black Sea Straits, the United States is required to notify Ankara of its intention to enter the Black Sea 14 days before the ships enter. CNN was unable to determine whether a notification was sent.
The Pentagon spokesman also said that the US Navy continues to fly reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace over the Black Sea to monitor the activities of the Russian Navy and the movements of Russian troops in the Crimea.
On Wednesday, two American B-1 bombers flew over the Aegean Sea.
Although the United States does not officially consider the accumulation of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border as preparation for an offensive, the CNN interlocutor clarified that “if something changes, we will be ready to respond.”
According to current estimates, the Russian military is conducting exercises, and intelligence has no information about any orders from the Russian Defense Ministry regarding further actions. However, according to the Pentagon representative, the situation can change “at any time.”
The Joe Biden administration and the international community have repeatedly expressed concern about the growing tensions between Ukraine and Russia. Over the past couple of weeks, President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, and White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan have discussed the situation with their Ukrainian counterparts.
On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was “gravely concerned” about Russia’s actions. Psaki also noted that the United States is discussing the movement of Russian troops in the region with NATO allies.
“Russia now has more troops on the border with Ukraine than it has ever had since 2014,” the White House press secretary stated, “Five Ukrainian soldiers were killed this week alone-these are hazardous signs,” Jen Psaki said.
A spokeswoman for the administration added that the preparation of a report with an overview of Russia’s malicious actions would be completed “in the coming weeks.”
The Pentagon and the State Department also expressed concern about Russia’s behavior near Ukraine’s eastern borders.
“We are concerned about the recent escalation of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, including credible reports of Russian troop movements near Ukraine’s borders and in occupied Crimea,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said this week. We have asked Russia to explain these provocations, and more importantly, we have sent a reassuring message to our Ukrainian partners.”
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said this week that “all parties must abide by the Minsk Agreements” and Russia must “respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.”
In turn, Moscow accuses Kyiv of escalating tensions and provocative actions.