BRUSSELS, Sept. 17 (UPI) — Russian warships will stay on patrol in the Black Sea until all U.S. vessels leave the coastal area off the Republic of Abkhazia, a Russian official said. Â
Russia’s NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin made the comments Wednesday in Brussels, telling the RIA Novsoti news service that four U.S. ships delivering humanitarian aid to Georgia in the wake of Moscow’s military conflict with Georgia are also spying on Russia’s Black Sea fleet.
“I think our ships will stay near the coast of Abkhazia as long as it is necessary to ensure security (in the region),” Rogozin told reporters.
Washington claims three of the U.S. ships, which entered the Black Sea Aug. 20, have already left. The Russian news agency said the fourth ship, the USNS Pathfinder oceanographic survey ship, carrying a civilian crew and scientists, is anchored at Sevastopol at the invitation of Ukraine.