Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday described as “provocation” military exercises carried out by Washington and NATO in the Black Sea, during a telephone interview with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, the Kremlin said.
During this conversation, the Russian president “drew attention to the provocative nature of the large-scale exercises carried out by the United States and some of its allies in the Black Sea, which reinforce tensions between Russia and NATO” , the Kremlin said in a statement.
Vladimir Putin seemed to be referring to the participation of several US military ships in exercises in the Black Sea that Moscow had claimed last week to “monitor” and that the Russian president had described as “a serious challenge”.
His latest charge comes against a backdrop of growing tensions around the conflict in Ukraine, a country bordering the Black Sea.
The situation in this region has been very tense since the annexation in 2014 by Russia of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. For more than seven years, Ukraine has been in conflict with pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of its territory.
Tensions have escalated in recent days, with the United States and the European Union expressing concern over a recent deployment of Russian troops to the country’s border.