Russia's Defense Ministry has lobbed an explosive accusation at a moment tensions with the West are soaring in the wake of the Belarus Ryanair incident on May 23rd. Spokesman for the ministry, Major General Igor Konashenkov on Wednesday said that NATO is preparing to use upcoming summer Black Sea sea exercises to smuggle tons of weaponry to Ukraine and "extremist" paramilitaries allied with Kiev.
Referencing the annual US-NATO Sea Breeze exercise in the Black Sea region, expected from June 28 through July 10 and including some 4,000 troops, Gen. Konashenkov claimed, "Advanced armaments, munitions and materiel are planned to be delivered precisely to that region for Ukrainian troops under the guise of holding the drills."
"Eventually, as was the case in previous years, all this weaponry will be delivered to the Ukrainian troops and nationalist formations stationed close to the areas in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions uncontrolled by Kiev," he added.
Russia is essentially the only major state bordering the Black Sea that will not take part or cooperate in some way with the exercises which further will involve at least 40 warships and other vessels, along with 30 aircraft - all with the involvement of 29 NATO member and 'partner' countries.
Leading the way will be United States, Canada, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Latvia and perhaps most notably other non-member allied or partner countries like Ukraine.
Russia's defense ministry spokesman made the explosive charge in a Wednesday statement...
#Russia's General Exposes True Goal Of Sea Breeze 2021 Exercises In #Ukraine— It@8848 Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil. (@Orpheus_111) June 3, 2021
Its main participants are Ukraine, #USA, #Canada, #GreatBritain, #Netherlands, #Romania, #Bulgaria, #Greece, #Turkey, #Latvia and partner countries.
⚡️🔥💥NATO Playing with Fire? 💥🔥⚡️ pic.twitter.com/kvMAaQcq4Z
The Kremlin is more or less casting this year's NATO drills as a dress rehearsal for future invasion of territory the West sees as "occupied" by pro-Russian forces, most notably Donbas and Crimea. And adding context to this suspicion is the fact that Sea Breeze war games prior to 2014 had been often conducted from Crimea.