Ukraine launches drill near Russia's border


Under the rules of the Montreux Convention, US ships can only be in the Black Sea for 21 days.

The US military has asked that the State Department apprise Turkey of its probable plans to sail a warship into the Black Sea, a maneuver they said is an answer to Russia's gestures against Ukraine in the Kerch Strait, which links the Black Sea of Azov.

"We routinely conduct operations to advance security and stability throughout the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations to include the worldwide waters and airspace of the Black Sea", Commander Kyle Raines, a spokesman for the U.S. Sixth Fleet, which oversees naval operations in the region, told CNN. It is very important that the rule of law and global norms were strictly adhered to, causing consequences for those countries that seek to undermine the right of other countries to their own national income.

The U.S. military has started the preparations to dispatch a warship into the Black Sea amid the tension between Russian Federation and Ukraine over the Kerch Strait incident, reported U.S. media on Wednesday.

After the five-day Russia-Georgia war in 2008, with Russian forces still encamped on a shore nearby, Washington anchored the flagship for the U.S. Sixth Fleet - the USS Mount Whitney - off Georgia's coast in a sign of support for the country.

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For its part, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced Wednesday that its troops in eastern Crimea, which Moscow seized from Ukraine in 2014, conducted a military drill with its Pantsir anti-aircraft missile systems. Russian jets have been shown regularly confronting, and shadowing, the surveillance planes.

Ukraine said Russian Federation had partially restored access to its ports on the Azov Sea following months of disruption and a week after its navy was sacked on by its neighbor.

The United States has called on Russian Federation to release the sailors and return the seized vessels to Ukraine. The rift escalated further after a naval incident on November 25 in which the Russian coast guard fired on and seized three Ukrainian navy vessels.

"As we expected, Moscow provides manual access regulation of merchant vessels in the Ukrainian ports of the Azov sea according to the ancient principle of the Kremlin: "I want/do not want"... as a result of this approach, two Ukrainian port lost more than twice the traffic, are forced to go on a 4-day working week and cut staff", wrote the Minister.