Russia says monitoring French warship in Black Sea
Iran Press TV
Tuesday, 14 December 2021 1:25 PM
Russian naval forces are monitoring a French warship near Russia's borders in the Black Sea, amid growing concerns over the risk of a major military confrontation.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that the Black Sea forces had started to track the French Navy's missile frigate Auvergne.
The frigate carries a missile system of eight launching containers as its basic armament and also 16 cruise missiles.
Earlier this month, Russia scrambled military aircraft to escort French fighter jets flying over the waters.
France had also sent its warplanes to the region last month. In response, Russia scrambled military aircraft to ward off the fighter jets.
NATO has been beefing up its military presence in the Black Sea region amid tensions between the US-led military alliance and Russia over Ukraine.
In a conversation with his French Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin said last month that NATO's "provocative" actions in the Black Sea were "increasing tensions" between Moscow and NATO.
According to the Elysee, Macron told Putin that France was ready to defend Ukraine's territorial integrity.
The United States, its NATO allies, and Ukraine accuse Moscow of massing troops near Ukraine's border for a possible invasion. Russia says there is no such plan. Moscow also says Washington is involved in aggressive moves in the Black Sea, where Ukraine and the US have held military drills recently.
President Putin has also warned the West and Kiev against crossing the Kremlin's red line of staging military exercises in and sending weaponry to Ukraine.
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