Pentagon: Ukrainian Official's Claim That US Has Plans To Attack Russian Fleet Untrue
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon has said that the claim by a Ukrainian official that the United States has plans to attack the Russian naval fleet in the Black Sea is "not true" and said that there has been no change in maritime posture in the Black Sea.
Ukrainian ministry of internal affairs adviser Anton Gerashchenko had tweeted on Friday that the US is "preparing a plan to destroy the Black Sea Fleet". The tweet, which was quoted by Newsweek has since been deleted.
In addition, the tweet stated, "The effective work of the Ukrainians on warships convinced (the USA) to prepare a plan to unblock the ports. Deliveries of powerful anti-ship weapons (Harpoon and Naval Strike Missile with a range of 250-300 km) are being discussed".
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby stated, however "I can tell you definitively that that's not true. Just looking here, no changes that we observed in the maritime posture in the Black Sea. The Russians still obviously have vessels there. Most of them [are] surface vessels but [some] submarines as well".
"They continue to, although they are not as close to the coast as they were a few weeks ago. They continue to be able to, from a maritime perspective, blockade major Ukrainian ports like Odesa, so there's still nothing getting in economically. But I don't have any other updates for you in the maritime domain", he added.
Kirby was then asked if the United States is going to send anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, as has been reported, to which he said "we are talking to the Ukrainians every day, as you know, in fact, today's another one of those days when the Secretary is going to talk to Minister Reznikoff about their needs and our capabilities".
"And when we have decisions, we come right out here and we issue a press release and we tell you about that. So, I'm not going to get ahead of decisions that haven't been made. We're doing the best we can to meet their capabilities in as near real-time as we can. And we keep trying to make those capabilities match what's going on on the ground. And what's going on on the ground right now is a very artillery-heavy, long-range fire-heavy fighting in the Donbas region" Kirby added.