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Russia tracking NATO warships in Black Sea

The file photo shows the British Royal Navy HMS Duncan destroyer.

Russia says its Black Sea Fleet is monitoring NATO warships in the sea, as the military bloc has increased its presence and boosted its activities there.

The Russian National Defense Management Center said in a statement on Wednesday that it had tracked a British destroyer and a Canadian frigate as they entered the Black Sea waters on Tuesday.

“The forces and hardware of the Black Sea Fleet have begun tracking the activities of the British Royal Navy HMS Duncan destroyer and the Canadian Forces HMCS Toronto frigate, which entered the waters of the Black Sea on July 2, 2019,” it said.

The center, whose statement was cited by the TASS news agency, also said that Russia’s Kasimov small anti-submarine ship and Pytlivy patrol ship were tracking the NATO vessels.

Russia’s “naval air force jets and the Bal and Bastion coastal missile systems have been put on duty in designated regions,” further said the statement, adding that radio electronic tracking was also being conducted.

The NATO ships are currently participating in the Sea Breeze 2019 military drills in the Black Sea. The 12-day exercises officially began on Monday in the northwestern part of the sea with some 3,000 servicemen from 19 countries, including from the US, the UK, and Ukraine.

The drills, which have raised concern in Russia, involve 32 warships and 24 aircraft.

Moscow has time and again expressed its concern about the increasing presence and activities of the US-led NATO near Russia’s western borders.

In February, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko warned NATO over its decision to beef up military presence in the Black Sea.

“It is our understanding that this activity aggravates the situation in the sphere of security,” he said at the time.

Back on April 15, the Russian National Defense Management Center reported that Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was monitoring the US Navy’s Ross guided-missile destroyer as it entered the sea a day earlier.

It added at the time that the Russian fleet placed the US destroyer “under constant monitoring involving the Fleet’s coastal surveillance facilities.”

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