EU Official Calls US Warships Near Russia’s Coast “Clearly” An Unncessary “Provocation”
An EU official has made surprising remarks this week, evaluating the presence of a pair of large US warships in the Black Sea. French member of the European Parliament Thierry Mariani slammed ongoing naval exercises by the USS Porter and USS Whitney as “clearly a provocation” by Washington.
“The presence of the ‘Mount Whitney’, flagship of the US Sixth Fleet and the USS Porter in the Black Sea, as well as the NATO naval maneuvers, are clearly a provocation of Russia,” Mariani said.
He issued the statements in an interview to Russia’s Sputnik: “Can you imagine what the American reaction would be if the Russian navy organized maneuvers in international waters off the American coast, near Washington DC?” he questioned.
The statements come as both US and Ukrainian officials, as well as Romanian leaders and other Black Sea NATO members, have urged a greater US military presence on the Black Sea, citing “Russian aggression”.
On renewed tensions over Ukraine, coming two weeks after Kiev officials accused the Kremlin of building up troops near Donbass and in the Crimea area, the French official said:
“This is very serious and could push Ukrainian politicians, the culprits of this widespread corruption, into a headlong rush action, for example into a hazardous military offensive in Donbass or an armed provocation of Russia in the Black Sea.”
And on NATO encroachment in eastern Europe and around the Black Sea, he said:
“NATO should have been dismantled at the same time as the Warsaw Pact was suppressed in the last century and the present expansion, and projection by NATO of military forces to the whole world is very alarming.”
The statements appeared to back provocative statements made days ago by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who said, “This is an almost constant attempt to test us, to check how ready we are, how much we have built the entire [defense] system off the Black Sea coast.”