YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Soviets Blast 'Provocation' by U.S. Ships

March 18, 1986|From Times Wire Services

MOSCOW — The Soviet Union today lodged an official protest with the U.S. Embassy against what it called a "provocative" violation of Soviet territorial waters in the Black Sea and warned of severe repercussions in the event of future incursions.

Vladimir Lomeiko, a spokesman for the Soviet Foreign Ministry, said the guided missile cruiser Yorktown and the destroyer Caron last Thursday passed six miles inside the 12-mile limit on the Black Sea, which separates Turkey from the Soviet Union.

A spokesman at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow confirmed that it had received the Soviet complaint, but would not reveal the contents of the diplomatic note.

In Washington, a Navy spokesman at the Pentagon denied that the two U.S. ships acted "in a provocative and defiant nature" and said they were "simply exercising the rights of free passage" in sailing within the 12-mile limit. The spokesman said international law recognizes the right that territorial waters of other countries can be crossed without prior notification.

Cites 'Defiant Nature'

The official press agency Tass said, "The embassy's attention was called to the fact that the action was of a demonstrative, defiant nature and pursued clearly provocative aims."

Lomeiko said similar violations of Soviet territorial waters could have "severe consequences" for the United States.

He declined to say whether Soviet defense forces took any action to get the ships out of Soviet waters or whether any communication occurred between U.S. and Soviet forces.

The protest note was the second delivered by the ministry in the last eight days. Last Tuesday, the ministry said a White House order requiring the Soviets to reduce their U.N. staff violates U.N. regulations and endangers superpower relations.

During a news conference, Lomeiko also made clear that the Soviet Union will not send observers to a U.S. nuclear test in April at the invitation of President Reagan.

'Offers No Solution'

"That offers no solution to the elimination of nuclear weapons," he said of Reagan's invitation.

He said what is needed is "an end to tests, then control and verification, not control and verification without halting tests."

Los Angeles Times Articles