Russia warned the U.S. on Tuesday against sending warships to the Black Sea, urging U.S. forces to stay away from the annexed Crimean peninsula “for their own good” as the situation along Ukraine’s border worsens.
On Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Ministry Sergei Ryabkov was cited by Russian news agencies saying the deployment of U.S. warships in the Black Sea, is a test of Russia’s nerves.
“There is absolutely nothing for American ships to be doing near our shores,” Ryabkov said, warning there was a very high risk of “unspecified incidents” if the U.S. military ships were to be positioned in the Black Sea.
“We warn the United States that it will be better for them to stay far away from Crimea and our Black Sea coast,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying. “It will be for their own good.”
Russia has moved forces into both Crimea and along its border with Ukraine. The Defense Ministry reported on Tuesday that 15 warships and vessels of the Caspian Flotilla had been sent to the Black Sea as part of previously announced military exercises.
In a call with Russian President Putin Tuesday, President Biden emphasized the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Biden voiced concerns over the sudden Russian military build-up in occupied Crimea and on Ukraine’s borders, and called on Russia to de-escalate tensions.
President Biden spoke of his goal of building a stable and predictable relationship with Russia consistent with U.S. interests and proposed a summit meeting in a third country in the coming months to discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia.
On Wednesday, the Kremlin said, not so fast.
“It’s still too early to talk about this meeting in tangible terms. It’s a new proposal and it will be studied,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that further talks would occur on the diplomatic level.
“The sides are not yet planning a range of topics to discuss, there isn’t yet any preparation for this meeting,” Peskov said.
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