Ukraine’s Mission to NATO Head Vadym Prystaiko stated on TV channel “112 Ukraine” that a Dutch warship, head of a permanent NATO group, plans to enter the Black Sea, Interfax-Ukraine reports.
“If one reads the official statement by the US Defense Department regarding the ship [USS Fort McHenry large landing ship] entering the Black Sea, then it is understood that the ship comes to provide support to NATO allies and partners. There are three NATO allies in the Black Sea: Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, and only two partners: Ukraine and Georgia. That is… one can understand whom the US Defense Department is implying,” Prystaiko said.
He noted that now one of the permanent NATO groups is led by the Netherlands, and the Netherlands ship plans on entering the Black Sea. “The Netherlands ship just started leadership, they also plan on entering the Black Sea,” said Ukraine’s permanent representative to NATO.
Prystaiko noted NATO ships have increased their visits to the Black Sea. However, according to him, there are Black Sea guidelines that establish the quantity, tonnage and the time for warships presence, limiting the number of NATO ships staying in the Black Sea.
“Therefore, there is a rotational principle in effect: some enter, other leave,” he explained.
As for the Azov Sea, according to Prystaiko, firstly, due to the shallow depth, for large warships this is a navigationally complex process to enter this area, and secondly, Russia declared that it would not provide permits to warships to enter the sea.
“This process is significantly more complex, and I do not see why NATO would provoke in this way. NATO does not intend to provoke anyone, especially Russia,” noted Prystaiko.