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US Rules Out Military Response to Russia-Ukraine Naval Escalation, Official Says

08 December 2018

The US have issued a series of statements pledging Washington's support to Ukraine after the November 25 attack in the Sea of Azov.

The U.S. military said on Thursday it carried out an "extraordinary" flight over Ukraine under the Open Skies Treaty to reaffirm its commitment to the country after Russian Federation seized three Ukrainian naval vessels off Crimea.

The US Air Force OC-135 observation plane was flown near Crimea, the Ukrainian region seized by Russian Federation in 2014, the Pentagon said.

This accord gives 34 signatory states the right to gather information about the military forces and activities of another one through military observation flights.

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"Vessels make their way to the entrance and exit through the Kerch Strait toward Ukrainian ports", Omelyan said on December 4, adding that all Ukrainian ships "are stopped and inspected by Russian Federation as before, but the traffic has been partially restored".

The Pentagon condemned Russia's actions, adding the timing of the flight was intended "to reaffirm US commitment to Ukraine and other partner nations" and that the "resolute" in its support of the security of European nations.

Typically all 34 parties to Open Skies, including Russian Federation, would have to approve a reconnaissance mission as part of a package of flights.

CNN also reported that Russia's defence ministry announced on Wednesday that its troops in eastern Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014, conducted military exercises involving Pantsir anti-aircraft missile systems. The Open Skies is an observation aircraft used for treaty support enhancing global peace, stability and cooperative security.

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The Pentagon has reportedly asked the State Department to inform Turkey that it planned to send a warship to the Black Sea.

Two Ukrainian armoured gunboats, the Lubna and the Kremenchug, escorted a vessel carrying a Bulgarian flag from the Ukrainian port of Mariupol through the Kerch Strait, Vice Admiral Aleksei Volsky, first deputy head of Russia's FSB coast guards, told a briefing in Moscow on Saturday.

Russia's State Duma Deputy Dmytro Belik commented on the claim of Minister of Defense of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak that the Ukrainian Navy would continue using the Kerch Strait, RT reports.

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US Rules Out Military Response to Russia-Ukraine Naval Escalation, Official Says