Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) vessels have entered the Black Sea for routine operations in the area, say NATO.

Standing NATO Maritime Group Two is composed of three frigates from Canada, Italy and Turkey and is commanded by Italian Navy Rear Admiral Paolo Fantoni.

With three Allied nations bordering the Black Sea, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, a number of Allied ships regularly operate in the Black Sea. The Standing Naval Forces also conduct regular patrols in the international waters of the Black Sea enhancing Allied ability to work together in the maritime domain.

The NATO Group will visit the Georgian port Poti at the beginning of April. Although many of the planned activities with the Georgian authorities, media gatherings and events are being scaled down in order to reduce risk for both sides of COVID-19, the exercises at sea involving Georgian Navy will go on as planned.

SNMG2 ships – HMCS Fredericton, ITS Fasan and TCG Salihreis – entered the Black Sea after an intense programme of exercises in the Central Mediterranean.

“It is undeniable that, given the global pandemic, extraordinary measures must be put in force to prevent and mitigate the risk of exposure for every single individual involved in the activities. Together with our medical staff, we are working daily to enforce these measures while continuously refining them, as well as develop procedures to adopt in the unlikely case of an infection amongst the crew in order to minimize the risk of spreading, should such event take place. This work is part of what enables us to continue our support to NATO partner nations in the Black Sea.” —   Rear Admiral Paolo Fantoni, Italian Navy, Commander of SNMG2

NATO say that SNMG2 is one of four standing forces that comprise the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF). To respond to contingency situations additional forces can be added to these groups, with the NATO command staff onboard and the ships of the group as the nucleus, capable of providing support to NATO operations.

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Mark B

Whilst we are in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis would it not be a good idea for all sides to step back from any of the more provocative acts?

Cymbeline

Nato ships operating in NATO waters, would think it would send the wrong message if they stopped.

Mark B

Absolutely. No stay within NATO waters but perhaps stay out of waters close to Russia, their economic zones etc. provided they are happy to do likewise. Military powers across the planet will be watching to see if anyone is taking advantage – might be best if everyone kept their distance.

Cymbeline

The Russians seem happy to keep probing our QRF reaction forces with their Tupolevs and escorts though, I think we have to show support to countries like Georgia as a friendly nation.

Ulya

Relax Cymbeline, NATO planes and ships are still happy probing our boarder area, and they have every legal right to do so when they operate in international airspace and waters, just like we have every right to do the same. If you don’t like us doing it then maybe set an example and stop, or don’t, It makes no difference
PS, love your ‘master of dark arts’ comment. Did you know Russians are born with tail and horns, have them removed when babies so not to scare westerners

Mark B

Hi Ulya. Ah yes legal rights, standard practice blah blah blah. Yes we know all that. I was just curious as to whether Russia might wish to park the military games and unite with Western countries in tackling a common foe – this virus. Unless Russians are somehow immune (which would be odd) it might be mutually beneficial.

Ulya

I do agree with you Mark, it is time both sides put military things on hold, and as in news we are already helping Italy and I understand offers have gone to other countries all so

Mark B

I had noted the help to Italy. Excellent. Any further assistance will I am sure be welcome and I would be surprised if it were not reciprocated.
Both sides will, I’m sure, be able to relax their posture without letting their guard down. Keep well everyone.

Cymbeline

Ulya, The Dark Arts can of course refer to magic or in this case I used it to refer to spying as used in articles like this.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/former-spy-boris-karpichkov-shares-4175850

There is no doubt Mr Putin is a master of his craft.

I personally have no problem with Russia or Russians, whether they have horns or not, but I do have a problem when chemical elements are used on our streets, that does make me ask the question can Russia be trusted?

Ulya

In politics there is no trust, you don’t trust us, we don’t trust you, as far as helping each other out during this time, possible if politics can be kept out of it, impossible otherwise

Mark B

Trust is unnecessary and probably unachievable at this stage.

Let’s just go with help, cooperation and calm and see where that takes us?

dave12

Careful Mark B Putin tends take any advantage as his strategy is to disrupt the west for revenge for losing the cold war and sell his dictatorship ideal’s around the world just to stay in power, the Ukraine people know about trusting Putin’s Russia.,,Ulya!! comes across all nice and polite but keep her talking the Putin comes out of her lol!!

Cymbeline

Ulya, you are correct in that point. In my view Coronavirus still has a lot of twists and turns and unfortunately a lot more deaths to go before this is played out, even if a vaccine is found soon there will always be another virus that comes within a few years and it is only with a global response and cooperation that we will be able to get on top of the next outbreak at an earlir stage.

Ulya

Hello Cymbeline, yes there will be many more deaths unfortunately from this coronavirus, and as you say there will eventually be another virus to replace it, I hope we as a people take this opportunity to learn from this and get better at working together, trust may come one day from it, but if we can start with honest cooperation then maybe there is hope for us. Stay safe

dave12

Careful Mark B Putin tends take any advantage as his strategy is to disrupt the west for revenge for losing the cold war and sell his dictatorship ideal’s around the world just to stay in power, the Ukraine people know about trusting Putin’s Russia.,,Ulya!! comes across all nice and polite but keep her talking the Putin comes out of her lol!!

Mark B

Hi Dave. Actions speak louder than words and Putin’s actions thus far pretty much support your scathing view of him. The mere fact that softening relations in the Covid-19 crisis must have occurred to his advisors will reinforce the current negative views in the West. Ulya pipes up from time to time trying to defend the indefensible. Some of her comments (or lack of them) can be interesting although the logic might gain some traction in Russia I don’t think anyone on this site is being fooled. Putin will be focusing on the virus at the moment if he has… Read more »

dave12

Yep well said.

dave12

Oh you can be sure Putin ls taking some advantage out of the situation he always has.

Cymbeline

Absolutely, a master of the dark arts.

Mark B

Agreed but are things that comfortable for Putin? Are there people with power in Russia who would appreciate better relations with the West and a nervous population who won’t be able to self isolate quite as easily as some.

dan

I’m sure tiny Putin has his panties in a twist over this like he usually does.