Russian military slams NATO's Black Sea presence

Other News Materials 23 August 2008 15:47 (UTC +04:00)

The Russian military Saturday criticized the presence of NATO naval vessels in the Black Sea given the current conflict in Georgia, dpa reported.
"NATO is enhancing its military presence on the Black Sea under the pretext of providing humanitarian aid," Deputy Chief of Staff Anatoly Nogovitsyn said, according to a report by the Interfax news agency.

"This does not contribute to stability in the region," the colonel general added.

The US destroyer USS McFaul is currently on its way to Georgia carrying aid supplies, passing the Bosphorus on Friday evening, accompanied by a Polish naval vessel.

Two more US naval vessels are scheduled to pass the straits off Istanbul headed for the Georgian coast in the coming days.

Several other NATO naval vessels passed the straits into the Black Sea on Thursday on their way to a naval exercise off the coasts of NATO members Bulgaria and Romania in the western part of the sea.

According to NATO, the exercise was planned more than a year ago.