CRIMEA – Russian warships do not hinder NATO countries and Ukraine from conducting exercises in the Black Sea, closing off the maneuvering area to prevent incidents, former Baltic Fleet commander Admiral Vladimir Valuev said.
Earlier, in an interview with the Ukrainian edition Segodnya, retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, who commanded the US Army in Europe, said Russia “is blocking NATO exercises.”
When Atlantic Alliance forces announce exercises on the Black Sea, Russia closes the corridors, the US general said, noting that NATO needs to build its forces in the region to “guarantee freedom of navigation.”
“Before making such statements, the US General should familiarize himself with the rules of operational combat training: the area in neutral waters where the exercises are performed, as well as the airspace above it, is being closed – its coordinates. and closing time are indicated,” said Valuev.
The Russian admiral explained that these measures are being taken to prevent incidents, including missile attacks – during firing training – against civilian ships or aircraft.
Commenting on Hodges’s words about the “temporary blockade” carried out by Russian Black Sea Fleet vessels in Odessa, Valuev pointed out that Russian vessels never threatened this Ukrainian port city.
“Odessa has nothing to do with it, this Ukrainian city has 19 km of territorial waters, no one infringes them, and no one is planning to get in there. As a rule, exercise areas are kept away from ports where civilian ships call,” pointed out the admiral.
Former Russian Black Sea Fleet commander Admiral Vladimir Komoedov told Sputnik that monitoring NATO exercises takes place at the same intensity as the Atlantic Alliance monitors Russian exercises, and is a common practice.
“The exercise theme, announced by NATO as a rule, does not really correspond to the exercises practiced, so it is essential to monitor your progress. Always during exercises, both NATO and ours, the opposite side conducts radiotechnical intelligence,” he said.
The admiral stressed that during the observation, Russian vessels do not disturb NATO and Allied exercises: “This does not mean that we intend to disrupt the exercises of the Atlantic Alliance, we will just observe or maneuver calmly.”