The Russian defense ministry announced on Wednesday that the Russian military will closely monitor upcoming naval drills co-hosted by Kyiv and Washington and react if necessary to protect its own national security.
In a statement, the ministry said the annual Sea Breeze drills, which are focused on the Black Sea area, will involve personnel from a number of NATO countries and are slated to take place from June 28 to July 10.
Russia said the drills went well beyond what it called Ukraine’s own Black Sea zone.
“The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation will closely monitor the preparations and the Ukrainian-American ‘Sea Breeze’ exercises themselves…and if necessary respond appropriately to the situation in the interests of ensuring Russia’s military security,” the ministry said.
Tensions between Moscow and Kyiv remain acutely strained after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 and supported a pro-Russian separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine that triggered a conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 14,000 people.