Russian Defence Minister: USA and NATO playing with fire in Black Sea

The United States and NATO are conducting provocative activities both in airspace and waters of the Black Sea, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu said, TASS reports on April 20. 

"The situation in the southwestern strategic direction remains complicated due to attempts of a number of countries to increase their military presence near the Russian borders," Shoygu said at a meeting of the board of the Russian Defense Ministry.

According to the minister, the Ukrainian administration still seeks to destabilize the state of affairs  in Donbas.

On April 13, Shoygu announced the redeployment of US and NATO troops to the borders of the European part of Russia. According to him, NATO plans to deploy as many as 40,000 troops and 15,000 units of arms and military hardware near the Russian borders.

Earlier in April, Kiev accused Moscow of building up its military presence in Donbas and called on NATO countries to increase their combat readiness. The Kremlin said that Ukraine was an explosive region and once again reminded that Russia was not part of the internal conflict in Ukraine.

On April 20, Russia limited aviation flights over the southern part of the Crimean Peninsula and the adjacent waters of the Black Sea.

Black Sea Fleet drills in Sevastopol