NATO denies charges on Black Sea build-up

Amid mounting tensions between Russia and the West over Moscow's intervention in S. Ossetia region, the deputy chief of the Russia's General Staff said its navy was monitoring what he called a NATO "build-up".

NATO denies charges on Black Sea build-up
NATO dismissed Russian suggestions it was reinforcing its presence in the Black Sea on Thursday, insisting that a group of warships was there on a long-planned routine exercise.

NATO announced last week that a group of one Spanish, one German and one Polish ship had entered the Black Sea and were subsequently joined by a U.S. frigate for a three-week schedule of port visits and exercises.

Amid mounting tensions between Russia and the West over Moscow's intervention in the South Ossetia region, the deputy chief of the Russia's General Staff said on Wednesday its navy was monitoring what he called a NATO "build-up".

"There is certainly no NATO build-up in the Black Sea," Commander Kevan McHale at NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) said.

SHAPE said last week the warship deployment had been planned over a year ago and would conduct port visits in Romania and Bulgaria and carry out exercises with their navies.

McHale said the only other allied presence which NATO authorities knew about were two U.S. ships involved in aid shipments to Georgia and ships belonging to the three NATO nations bordering the sea -- Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey.

Reuters
Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Ağustos 2008, 15:12
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