(Washington Examiner) MUNICH — An American destroyer is sailing to the Black Sea to conduct naval exercises with Ukraine to demonstrate “solidarity” in response to a clash with Russia that has a top U.S. admiral furious.
“The whole episode in the Sea of Azov was extremely bothersome to me,” Admiral James Foggo, commander of U.S. naval forces in Europe and Africa, told reporters on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference over the weekend.
Russian forces fired on three Ukrainian naval vessels that attempted to pass through the Kerch Strait, the narrow waterway that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov, and arrested the sailors in late November. The maritime incident was the first public act of violence by Russian forces against Ukraine since 2014, when unmarked Russian fighters helped annex Crimea and invade eastern Ukraine. Since the takeover, Moscow has used control of the land on both sides of the waterway to restrict access to key Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov.