US mulls post­ing war­ship into Black Sea over Kerch ten­sions

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

THE U.S. mil­i­tary is busy with prepa­ra­tions for sail­ing a Navy war­ship into the Black Sea over ten­sions be­tween Rus­sia and Ukraine in the Kerch Strait near Crimea, a CNN re­port said, cit­ing three anony­mous of­fi­cials.

THE U.S. mil­i­tary has be­gun prepa­ra­tions to sail a U.S. Navy war­ship into the Black Sea amid height­ened ten­sions in the Kerch Strait near Crimea. The Pen­tagon has re­quested that the State Depart­ment in­form Turkey of the pos­si­ble ac­tion, CNN re­ported Wed­nes­day, cit­ing three anony­mous of­fi­cials.

The U.S. is re­quired to no­tify Turkey of the in­tent to send a war­ship through the Bosporus and the Dar­danelles, which re­quires a 15-day no­tice un­der the terms of the 1936 Mon­treux Con­ven­tion. The treaty also lim­its the pres­ence of war­ships from nations that don’t border the Black Sea to a max­i­mum of 21 days.

“Turkey has im­ple­mented the Mon­treux Con­ven­tion for more than 82 years pre­cise- ly and in com­plete im­par­tial­ity. The pas­sage of war­ships from the lit­toral states of the Black Sea, along with nations that don’t border the Black Sea, through the Turk­ish straits are car­ried out in ac­cor­dance with the pro­ce­dures and prin­ci­ples in the Con­ven­tion,” the Turk­ish For­eign Min­istry said in a state­ment yesterday.

The of­fi­cials CNN spoke to said the plans to pos­si­bly sail a war­ship into the Black Sea are in re­sponse to Rus­sia’s ac­tions.

Ten­sions in the Black sea has es­ca­lated fur­ther fol­low­ing a Nov. 25 in­ci­dent in which the Rus­sian coast guard fired upon and seized three Ukrainian naval ves­sels and their crews off the Crimean Penin­sula that Rus­sia an­nexed from Ukraine. Ukrainian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko re­sponded by in­tro­duc­ing martial law for 30 days in much of Ukraine. For the du­ra­tion of martial law, Ukrainian au­thor­i­ties barred en­try to all Rus­sian males aged 16 to 60 in a move the Ukrainian leader said was needed to pre­vent Rus­sia from fur­ther desta­bi­liz­ing the coun­try.

Rus­sia and Ukraine traded blame for the con­fronta­tion that raised the specter of a full-blown con­flict be­tween the neigh­bors. Ukraine said its ves­sels were head­ing to the Sea of Azov in line with in­ter­na­tional mar­itime rules, while Rus­sia charged that they had failed to ob­tain per­mis­sion to pass through the nar­row Kerch Strait that is spanned by a bridge that Rus­sia com­pleted this year. The in­ci­dent sharply es­ca­lated ten­sions that have been grow­ing be­tween the two coun­tries since Moscow an­nexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Amid sev­eral re­cent de­vel­op­ments that have ratch­eted up U.S.-Rus­sia ten­sions, the U.S. re­port­edly sailed a de­stroyer to the Rus­sian coast, near the Pa­cific Fleet base in Vladi­vos­tok. As part of free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion op­er­a­tion (FONOP), “The [guided-mis­sile de­stroyer] McCamp­bell sailed in the vicin­ity of Peter the Great Bay to chal­lenge Rus­sia’s ex­ces­sive mar­itime claims and up­hold the rights, free­doms, and law­ful uses of the sea en­joyed by the United States and other nations,” Pa­cific Fleet spokes­woman Lt. Rachel McMarr said in a state­ment, as re­ported by CNN.

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