Russia calls U.S. an adversary, warns its warships to avoid Crimea “for its own good”

Nato tells Russia to stop military buildup around Ukraine

* Moscow calls US ‘an adversary’ not a partner

* Warns U.S. warships to stay away from Crimea

* Moves 15 ships to Black Sea for drills

* Shrugs off U.S. warnings of consequences for actions

Alliance warns about ‘largest massing of Russian troops since annexation of Crimea’

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia on Tuesday called the United States an adversary and told U.S. warships to stay well away from Crimea “for their own good”, calling their deployment in the Black Sea a provocation designed to test Russian nerves.

Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and two U.S. warships are due to arrive in the Black Sea this week amid an escalation in fighting in eastern Ukraine, where government forces have battled Russian-backed separatists in a conflict Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people.

“The United States is our adversary and does everything it can to undermine Russia’s position on the world stage,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was cited as saying by Russian news agencies.

“We do not see any other elements in their approach. Those are our conclusions,” the agencies quoted him as saying.

The comment suggests that the veneer of diplomatic niceties that the former Cold War enemies have generally sought to observe in recent decades is wearing thin.

U.S. President Joe Biden said in March that he thought his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin was a killer who would “pay a price” for alleged meddling in U.S. elections – an accusation that Moscow denies.