NATO warships routinely enter the Black Sea, but the frequency of these visits has been increasing since relations between the countries of the military alliance and Russia started to deteriorate in 2014.
The US Coast Guard patrol cutter Hamilton entered the Black Sea, the US Sixth Fleet’s command has confirmed.
“The Legend-class national security cutter USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753) transited into the Black Sea in support of NATO Allies and partners”, Six Fleet’s statement said.
At the same time, the Russian Defence Ministry’s National Defence Control Centre (NDCC) confirmed that it had detected the Hamilton’s entrance into the waters, adding that the Russian Black Sea’s Fleet is tracking the US ship’s movements.
A short video has emerged online showing the process of the Russian military’s monitoring of the US Coast Guard cutter’s movements in the Black Sea.
— Liveuamap (@Liveuamap) April 27, 2021
Earlier today, online resources monitoring global airspace reported that a US RQ-4B Global Hawk drone and a British RC-135W reconnaissance aircraft were conducting a flight along Russia’s Black Sea borders for several hours. Neither American nor Russian military officials have confirmed these reports so far.
NATO warships and military aircraft have been making visits to the Black Sea ever more frequently since the start of a downward spiral in relations between the member states of the alliance and Russia. Chief of the General Staff of Russia Valery Gerasimov said in December 2020 that the activity of NATO ships in the Black, Baltic, and Barents Seas had reached new heights. Three US destroyers and one cruiser have visited the Black Sea since the beginning of 2021.
Russia historically opposed the appearances of the NATO warships in the Black Sea, warning that they operations there might result in incidents. Hamilton’s visit namely comes amid the Russian fleet’s ongoing war games in the national Black Sea waters.