With tensions simmering in the Black Sea due to an increased US and NATO presence, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday said the Russian Navy is capable of carrying out an “unpreventable strike” against an enemy target if necessary.
“We are capable of detecting any underwater, above-water, airborne enemy and, if required, carry out an unpreventable strike against it,” Putin said during Russia’s annual Navy Day parade. The Russian Navy is celebrating the 325th anniversary of its founding this year.
Western powers have been testing Russia’s patience in the Black Sea. The most provocative move came in June when the UK warship HMS Defender sailed 12 miles off the coast of Crimea. Russia responded by firing warning shots on the British vessel. It was later revealed by classified British documents found at a bus stop that UK officials knew sailing so close to Crimea would provoke a strong response from Moscow.
The US and NATO held two consecutive military exercises in July. The first was the 32-nation Sea Breeze 2021, which concluded on July 10th and was followed by the similarly named Breeze exercises that were held from July 12th to the 19th and involved 14 NATO members and partners.
The heightened tensions have Russia warning of a possible confrontation with the US. Last week, Russian officials discussed the strained ties. The Russian Foreign Ministry said of the meeting: “It was noted during the discussion that bilateral relations had approached a dangerous confrontational threshold through the fault of Washington, who have provoked an unprecedented escalation between our states over the recent years.”