UpdateThe Sunday Times reported that Britain will send two warships to the Black Sea next month as tensions escalate between Russia and Ukraine, according to unnamed senior naval officials.
According to the newspaper, a destroyer armed with anti-aircraft missiles will travel from the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea with an anti-submarine frigate.
F-35B fighters, which can take off and land vertically, and helicopters for hunting submarines from the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier are ready to support the two ships in the Black Sea if there is a threat from Russian forces. The newspaper said that the British aircraft carrier must already remain in the Mediterranean due to an international treaty banning the entry of aircraft carriers into the Black Sea.
“The United Kingdom and our international allies are firm in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” a defense ministry spokesman told the newspaper.
Tensions between Ukraine and Russia are running high, in part due to the intensification of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border and in the Crimean peninsula. Russian mobilization is caused by escalating violence between the Ukrainian government army and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Russia has sent 15 warships to the Black Sea for training, the Russian news agency Interfax reported on Saturday. It is not known how long these exercises will take. The Russian Defense Ministry had already warned on Friday that many of the waters off Crimea, which was part of Ukraine and annexed by Russia in 2014, will be closed for several months due to the exercises.
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