The United States notified Turkey two weeks ago that it planned to send two warships through the Turkish Straits toward the Black Sea in line with the Montreux Convention, diplomatic sources shared Friday, adding that the vessels will remain in the Black Sea until May 4.
The move comes at a time that Russia has bulked up its military presence on Ukraine’s eastern border.
“A notice was sent to us 15 days ago via diplomatic channels that two U.S. warships would pass to the Black Sea in line with the Montreux Convention. The ships will remain in the Black Sea until May 4,” Foreign Ministry sources said, adding that the ships are expected to arrive on April 14 and April 15, separately.
The announcement triggered an immediate reaction from Moscow, which expressed concern over the increased activity in the Black Sea, as IFAX reported Friday.
“Any such movements must be in line with the Montreux Convention,” Russia expressed.
The 1936 Montreux accord gives Turkey control over the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits. It also limits access of naval warships and governs foreign cargo ships.
The U.S. State Department said on April 5 that it has asked Moscow to explain “provocations” on the border with Ukraine amid the Russian military build-up
State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told a news briefing that the United States would be concerned by any effort by Moscow to intimidate Ukraine whether it occurred within Russian territory or within Ukraine.
Earlier on the same day, Russia said it was in high-level contact with the United States about tensions over Ukraine and dismissed fears of Russian military buildup even as it vowed to respond to new Ukrainian sanctions.