Russia welcomes Turkey’s assurances on observance of Montreux terms

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- Russia has said it welcomes Turkey’s assurance of its commitment to the Montreux Convention, which prevents non-Black Sea powers from sending their aircraft carriers to the Black Sea and limits the length of time the warships of other countries may remain in the Black Sea.

“Russia has noted with satisfaction Turkey’s statement that it will continue, just as it has been doing over the past 78 years, to comply with the Montreux Convention which makes a significant contribution to the security of the Black Sea states,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement, Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency reported.

Turkey said last week it is “perplexed by the Russian Federation’s insistence on keeping the implementation of the Montreux Convention on the agenda.”

Russia has claimed several times that Turkey permitted US warships to overstay the time allowed in the Black Sea. The Montreux Convention gives Turkey control over the Bosporus Strait and the Dardanelles and regulates the transit of warships. It specifies that warships from states without a Black Sea coast can remain in the Black Sea for up to 21 days. Russia says the USS Taylor, a warship belonging to the US Navy, stayed 11 days over the limit, a violation of the Montreux Convention.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that the aforementioned ship became stuck due to propeller damage that occurred while entering the port of Samsun and that the Russian Federation and the other parties to the Montreux Convention were informed of the matter.

“We believe that discussing the technical provisions of the convention through the media will not benefit anyone, particularly the Black Sea littoral countries that are parties to it,” the statement said.

Russian attack aircraft flies close to US Navy destroyer

Meanwhile, the US Department of Defense claimed that a Russian SU-24 Fencer attack aircraft repeatedly flew near the USS Donald Cook, a destroyer equipped with the Aegis missile defense system, while it was patrolling in the western Black Sea on Saturday.

The Russian fighter jet reportedly made multiple, close-range passes near the USS Donald Cook for more than 90 minutes.

“This provocative and unprofessional Russian action is inconsistent with international protocols and previous agreements on the professional interaction between our militaries,” Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said.

The USS Donald Cook has been conducting routine operations in international waters east of Romania with ships from Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. The ship, which carries helicopters, was deployed to the Black Sea on April 10 in the wake of the Russian military takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region and ongoing unrest there. US military officials have said the deployment is part of an effort to reassure allies and partners in the region.

(CihanToday’s Zaman)