OREANDA-NEWS. The flagship of the Sixth Fleet of the US Navy, Mount Whitney, has completed exercises in the Black Sea with NATO partners. The ship began the transition from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, according to the official Twitter account of the fleet.

There are the staff of the Sixth Fleet headquarters and the command of naval strike forces and NATO support on board of the ship. Mount Whitney took part in the PASSEX exercises together with the ships of Turkey, Romania and Ukraine. The maneuvers were observed by the forces and means of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

Earlier, Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin called NATO military exercises in the Black Sea one of the key components of an integrated deterrence strategy that will help avoid military threats in the future.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the NATO exercises in the Black Sea are connected with the desire of the United States to increase the policy of deterring Russia contrary to the agreements. According to him, this is a direct violation of the document on the non-expansion of NATO to the east, which was signed and which everyone praised as a model for peaceful coexistence and partnership.