Russia Opposes NATO Naval Exercises in Black Sea

MOSCOW, Russia -- Russia has opposed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) conducting naval exercises in the Black Sea, saying such operations are only open to countries from the region, local media reported.

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Wednesday that only Black Sea countries — Russia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Georgia — have the right to take part in naval exercises in the region.

However, Ukraine has been seeking NATO membership, and under a bilateral accord Russia, whose naval bases were left on the Ukrainian Black Sea coast after the collapse of the Soviet Union, has to withdraw its fleet from Ukraine’s Crimea by 2017.

Ivanov said Russia allocated $32.14 million for the building of naval bases at its largest Black Sea port of Novorossiysk will add another $35.71 million next year for the project.

Source: MosNews