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No response to Russian drills from NATO ships in Black Sea -- source

NATO ships in the Black Sea have not reacted to Russian maneuvers held as part of the ongoing strategic command and staff exercise, a source at the Black Sea headquarters said on Wednesday.

Military exercises and combat readiness checks are currently under way in many Russian regions. Over 10 warships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet accompanied by over ten combat planes and helicopters left their naval bases overnight. Units of the marine corps of the Black Sea Fleet were put on full combat alert.

The source said that NATO ships "are holding no reals drills at the moment."

He said their presence in the Black Sea was demonstrational.

According to the source, the ships have visited no Black Sea ports except Romania's Constanta.

NATO drills in the Black Sea

Six NATO vessels are participating in military drills in the Black Sea. The group includes USS Vicksburg, four frigates - Turkey's Turgut Reis, Italy's Aliseo, Canada's Fredericton and Romania's Regina Maria, as well as Germany's Spessart auxiliary ship. US Vice-Admiral Brad Williamson is in charge of the group. According to NATO's press-service the drills are aimed at practising protection from air raids and from torpedo attacks by submarines. NATO warships are obliged to meet the conditions of the Monroe doctrine not to stay in the Black Sea basin longer than 21 days. The water displacement of NATO warships staying in the Black Sea should not exceed 45,000 tons. Most recent NATO Black Sea maneuvers in this TASS photo gallery.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 18Mar15]

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