US Naval Presence Off Russia’s Black Sea Coast ‘Clearly a Provocation’, EU Politician Says

US Naval Presence Off Russia’s Black Sea Coast ‘Clearly a Provocation’, EU Politician Says


Thierry Mariani, a French member of the European Parliament, has called naval maneuvers of two US warships off the Russian shore in the Black Sea a clear provocation.

“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 manoeuvres, are clearly a provocation of Russia… Can you imagine what the American reaction would be if the Russian navy organised manoeuvres in international waters off the American coast, near Washington DC?” he told Sputnik.

The Pentagon said the ships were in the region for routine maritime drills with NATO allies and partners.

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Mariani, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said the US would refrain from accepting Ukraine into NATO, which he called the ultimate escalation.

He also said Ukraine was becoming a real problem for Europe. A recent report by the European Court of Auditors on Ukraine’s finances revealed an 8 billion euro ($9.2 billion) hole in EU support funds. Mariani suggested that the money went to power-hungry oligarchs behind President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“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”, he said.

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Mariani said that the US-Russia standoff over Ukraine was part of the alliance’s strategy of making small steps towards a broader conflict with Russia. NATO has also expanded its theatres of operation to the Pacific, with NATO ships patrolling the South China Sea to help the US respond to the “Chinese security threat.”

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