A TOP Russian general accused NATO of using humanitarian aid deliveries to Georgia as "cover" for a build-up of naval forces in the Black Sea.
"Under the cover of needing to deliver humanitarian goods, NATO countries continue to boost their naval grouping," Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of general staff, said.
"In addition to the Spanish and German frigates that entered the Black Sea basin on August 21, yesterday a Polish frigate and a destroyer of the US navy passed the Bosphorous," he said.
"I don't think that this will help stabilise the situation in the region."
Even though these exercises may have been planned for a long time, NATO could have either called them off - or postponed them - to give things a little time to cool between NATO and Russia.
Obviously, a cooling off period is not on NATO's agenda at this time.