‘The law can be circumvented’: US Navy finds a way to gain a foothold in Black Sea

‘The law can be circumvented’: US Navy finds a way to gain a foothold in Black Sea

Andrey Kots

The Americans seem to have decided to settle in the Black Sea for a long time. While the Sixth Fleet, together with NATO allies, prepares to repel “Russian aggression”, Washington is calling for a revision of the Montreux Convention in order to dramatically increase military power in the region. About what this can lead to – in the material of RIA Novosti.
The purpose of the maneuvers
The naval exercise is led by the flagship of the Sixth Fleet, the Blue Ridge-class control ship Mount Whitney, which has entered the Black Sea for the third time since 2014. This is, in fact, a floating headquarters, stuffed with the most modern electronic equipment, communications and intelligence. From its side, the command promptly receives the tactical information necessary for the effective management of the entire formation. The flagship was accompanied by the Arleigh Burke-class missile destroyer Porter and the tanker John Lenthall. The group is supported by ships of regional allies, and from the air it is covered by American aviation deployed at bases in Europe. Including – strategic bombers B-1B.
The Russian Defense Ministry considers unscheduled US maneuvers near the borders to be destabilizing. “One of the goals is the military development of the territory of Ukraine,” the ministry said. “Taking into account the fact that, in addition to the American Navy, it is planned to use tactical, patrol and strategic aviation, as well as contingents of the armed forces of Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine. , there is a study of the alleged theater of military operations in the event that Kiev prepares a military solution in the southeast. “
The arrival of American ships in the Black Sea was preceded by a series of media “volleys”. At the end of October, the influential Politico published a “sensation”: the Kremlin is gathering troops on the border with Ukraine, clearly plotting a full-scale invasion. In support of this, they published satellite images of military equipment in the Yelnya area. True, they forgot to report that from this city in the Smolensk region to Ukraine there are more than 250 kilometers in a straight line. Other Western media immediately spread the provocative stuffing.
In early November, the head of the CIA, William Burns, arrived in Moscow for negotiations. According to CNN, the purpose of the visit is “to warn the Kremlin that the United States is closely monitoring the buildup of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine.” Apparently, the head of intelligence is as bad with geography as the journalists of Politico.
The same ailment seems to have afflicted the Pentagon as well. “We continue to monitor the disturbing movements of the Russian military in western Russia and around Ukraine,” said US defense spokesman John Kirby. “We call on Russia to clarify its intentions and what they are actually doing there.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called all this a fake campaign. However, the flywheel of anti-Russian rhetoric in the West has long been launched, and there is no one to stop it. Recently, US Republican congressmen Mike Rogers and Mike Turner announced the need to supply Ukraine with lethal weapons and send warships to the Black Sea to “contain and repel aggression.”
Gather a crowd
According to the Montreux Convention of 1936, the total tonnage of warships of any non-Black Sea state in the Black Sea in peacetime cannot exceed 30 thousand tons. The current grouping of the Sixth Fleet barely fits into this limit. It is because of legal restrictions that the Americans have never dragged through the Bosphorus the main striking force – nuclear aircraft carriers with a displacement of 80 thousand tons.
Washington is clearly not happy with this. They understand perfectly well that three even the most modern ships are unlikely to overcome the Russian Black Sea Fleet, which enjoys the support of a powerful interspecific group deployed in Crimea. The Americans are unlikely to dare to violate the Montreux Convention outright – at least in peacetime. However, there are other options.
For example, the influential Washington newspaper The Hill, which is carefully read by congressmen, published an article by Navy Lieutenant Commander Brian Harrington “America and NATO must resist Russian domination in the Black Sea.” The author admits that the Bastion and Caliber missile systems deployed in Crimea and on board ships of the Black Sea Fleet, as well as a serious aviation grouping, allow Moscow to cover a vast territory with a cap of the so-called Anti-Access / Area Denial (A2AD) zone. By this, the Pentagon means the regions in which American troops will suffer unreasonably high losses in the event of a direct armed conflict.
It is possible to penetrate A2AD only due to significant numerical and technological superiority in fire weapons. Harrington proposed bypassing the limitations of the Montreux Convention. Let each country – member of the North Atlantic Alliance, possessing a strong military fleet, send two or three pennants to the Black Sea. Such a combination, he believes, will become practically invincible.
There is something to answer
But such a blatant disregard for international treaties will not go unnoticed. Russia will regard this as direct preparation for a regional war.
And that very quickly can grow into a world war with the subsequent nuclear missile endgame. Washington and Brussels are still unlikely to dare to escalate. However, attempts to probe the Russian borders in the Black Sea will become more frequent.
“They are not alone in this – in such checks and in such campaigns. Further, as I understand it, they will have exercises with our neighbors: with the Georgian fleet and with the Ukrainian fleet. visit of the ships of the Sixth Fleet Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Indeed, in response to the naval maneuvers of Western countries, Russia each time organizes its own. So, the other day the frigate “Admiral Essen” conducted exercises to cover the base of the Black Sea Fleet ships from air and missile attacks. The pennant was escorted and successfully destroyed all training targets with anti-aircraft weapons.
In addition, anti-submarine forces – the ships “Yeisk” and “Kasimov”, entered the Black Sea. The combat work of the Black Sea submariners is kept secret. But there is no doubt that the crews of six Project 636.3 Varshavyanka diesel-electric submarines assigned to the Southern Military District are watching all those who try to rattle their weapons around the clock.

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