After the Biden administration requested authorization from the Turkish government to deploy a couple of warships in the Black Sea in anticipation of possible attacks against Ukraine by Russia, it canceled the operation. 

All indications are that Biden gave in to the strong demand issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to The Washington Free Beacon on April 15. 

“The U.S. verbally canceled their passage yesterday. We’ve not received a written statement yet,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with NTV television, Bloomberg reported

He added: “The ships can still pass within three days after the scheduled days, but if they don’t, then they have to notify Turkey again 15 days in advance of their passage.”

For its part, Russia’s response was terse and forceful, stating that the approach of the warships is “extremely provocative.” 

Also, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that such actions would only increase his country’s determination to defend the Russian-speaking population living in the Crimea region. 

Matching deeds with words, the Russian navy began military drills in the Black Sea on April 14, firing at targets on the surface and in the air.  

In view of the increased tension caused by this crisis, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg asked Moscow on April 13 to stop its military maneuvers on the Ukrainian border.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan, who described Russia’s deployments in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas as “worrying,” also expressed this view.

Likewise, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joe Biden on Wednesday called on Russia to withdraw its military hardware from the area. 

After Biden suggested that he would take much harsher measures against Russia, going so far as to call Putin a “murderer,” the facts do not seem to support his words. 

Russia has accumulated a large amount of military equipment on the Ukrainian border, which alarms European countries, particularly NATO, which is tasked with protecting it militarily. 

Since March 30, 28 tactical battalion groups of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have been stationed along the Ukrainian state border.

For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the Russian troop movements across the border in a message via his Twitter account.

“Muscle-flexing in the form of military exercises on the border with Ukraine is an attempt to put pressure in the negotiations on ceasefire and peace as our value,” he wrote.

He added: “We are always ready for provocations. Army is not only strength and power but also wisdom and balance.”

However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “We do not indulge in illusions. Unfortunately, the realities along the line of engagement are rather frightening. Ukrainian armed forces carry out provocations. They are not casual. There have been many.” 

He further warned that it would provoke further tensions if NATO sent troops, forcing Moscow to take additional measures to ensure its security.

NATO fighter jets scrambled 10 times on Monday, March 29, 2021, to shadow Russian bombers and fighters over the North Atlantic, North Sea, Black Sea, and Baltic Sea. In all, NATO aircraft intercepted six different groups of Russian military aircraft near Alliance airspace in less than six hours.

The war in this region in 2014 caused at least 14,000 deaths, and now the Ukrainian armed forces are on high alert.

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