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USS Mount Whitney tracked by Russian navy upon entry in the Black Sea.

Image Credit: NDTV

On Thursday the Russian Defense Ministry said that it was tracking the US navy ship, Mount Whitney, in the Black Sea. The defense ministry said that the US ship entered the Black Sea on November 4th, where it joined other ships. The USS Porter and several NATO ships were in the Black Sea since last week in an attempt to ‘maintain freedom of navigation in international waters.’

The forces and means of the Black Sea Fleet have started monitoring the actions of the Mount Whitney command ship, which entered the Black Sea zone on Nov. 4.

Russian defence ministry 

Last Monday, US authorities said that USS Mount Whitney arrived in Istanbul, Turkey, and will soon join other ships in the Black Sea. This prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to joke about the ease in observing the US ship, ‘through binoculars or in the crosshairs of defense systems’. In response to the US ship’s arrival in Turkey, Russian naval forces conducted a drill where several enemy targets were destroyed. Also, the air defense system was put on alert at its bases in Crimea and Novorossiysk. Crimea was annexed from Ukraine in 2014 and is widely regarded as illegitimate by most western countries. Relations between Russia and NATO have remained strained ever since. On Thursday, during the Russian national unity holiday marking the end of the Russian civil war, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech in Sevastopol where he declared Crimea as forever a part of Russia.

Last month Russia severed its ties with NATO over the expulsion of eight Russian diplomats on October 6th, reducing the size of Russia’s mission in Brussels headquarters to 10. According to a NATO official, those expelled were ‘undeclared Russian intelligence officers.’ All NATO’s diplomats in Moscow have been expelled, and NATO’s military mission in Moscow lost its accreditation on November 1st, 2021.

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