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US Naval Patrols in Black Sea Can Be Increased - Vice Admiral

© Sputnik / Denis Petrov / Go to the mediabankThe destroyer USS Donald Cook during the joint Ukrainian-US naval drill Sea Breeze 2015
The destroyer USS Donald Cook during the joint Ukrainian-US naval drill Sea Breeze 2015 - Sputnik International
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The length of time that US ships patrol the Black Sea could be extended from the current operating level of about four months, Navy staff director Vice Adm. James Foggo told Sputnik at the Defense Forum in Washington, DC on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US warships have repeatedly been sent to the Black Sea.

"It could — it depends on whether or not the challenges in the region become more or less urgent. Obviously, when things become more intense you see the presence of additional ships," Foggo said when asked if the US naval presence in the Black Sea can grow.

Foggo added that US ships will patrol international waters where by law they can operate legally.

"We probably had a US Navy warship in there [in the Black Sea] under a US flag, bilateral or multilateral operations about third of the year, NATO is in there operating about a third of the year, and the Russian Federation Navy is putting more assets in there and things are getting more crowded," Foggo said.

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Earlier this year, US Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said that the US intends to continue activities in the Black Sea "to deter potential aggression."

Both the United States and NATO are seeking to expand their presence in the Black Sea following the 2014 reunification of Crimea with the Russian Federation, a move that NATO sees as a violation of international law. Moscow maintains the legitimacy of the 2014 Crimea’s popular referendum to rejoin Russia.
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