The United States will continue operations in international space and waters, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said on Wednesday, speaking about the NATO-led drills in the Black Sea.
The US Sixth Fleet announced in November that its flagship Mount Whitney was heading to the Black Sea to conduct operations with NATO allies and partners. Earlier in the day, Mount Whitney along with US destroyer Porter made entered the Georgian port of Batumi.
“As a NATO ally, we will continue to fly, sail and operate in the international space and waters… That is an important principle to stand up for,” Kirby told journalists.
Meanwhile, Russia views the NATO drills in the Black Sea as a provocation with the aim to contain Moscow. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, NATO exercises are connected with the desire of the United States and its allies to follow the policy of containment of Russia in spite of everything that was said in the 1990s and was included in the Russia-NATO Founding Act.
He added that Russia is ready to face any further developments.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Russian military said that it detected a US Air Force’s E-8C ground target reconnaissance and strike control aircraft that was flying over the Black Sea close to the Russian border. The aircraft, which departed from the Ramstein airbase in Germany, was escorted by Russian radar stations during the entire flight that lasted 5 hours and 13 minutes, the ministry noted. E-8C approached the Russian border by 35 kilometers (21 miles).