NATO warships outnumber Russia's in Black Sea - Admiral Kasatonov

The group of NATO ships to be deployed in the Black Sea has superior combat potential compared to the Russian Black Sea Fleet, however, if necessary, Russia can use other types of the Armed Forces, said former First Deputy Russian Navy Commander-in-chief Admiral Igor Kasatonov.

"If you take just ships, then the proportion between the potential of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and that of the alliance's planned group is in NATO's favor. But if necessary, Russia will use all types of the Armed Forces, including aviation. This is why we can tell NATO: "Why don't you choose a farther lane for a walk," Kasatonov told Interfax-AVN on Wednesday.

He was commenting on the information from the Russian General Staff that NATO is soon going to increase the number of its ships in the Black Sea from the current ten to 18.

Sending NATO ships to the Black Sea is a political step that will not be followed by military operations, he said. "The concentration of such forces in this region is merely a military political move aimed to support [Georgian President] Saakashvili. As far as the World War III is concerned, we can say almost certainly that it is not going to happen tomorrow or after tomorrow," the admiral said.

Currently, there are ten NATO warships in the Black Sea, including U.S. Navy destroyer McFaul, Spanish frigate Admiral Juan de Borbon, Polish frigate ORP General Pulaski, German frigate FGS Lubeck.

[Source: Interfax, Moscow, 27Aug08]

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