The USS Donald Cook's presence in the Black Sea is meant to reassure and at the same time demonstrate US commitment to work closely with NATO allies in order to enhance maritime security, the ship's commanding officer, was quoted as saying in the statement Thursday.
MOSCOW, December 26 (Sputnik) — The USS Donald Cook is scheduled to enter the Black Sea Friday to maintain peace and stability in the region, US Naval Forces Europe-Africa said in a statement.
"Donald Cook's presence in the Black Sea is meant to reassure and at the same time demonstrate our commitment to work closely with NATO allies in order to enhance maritime security," Cmdr. Charles Hampton, the ship's commanding officer, was quoted as saying in the statement Thursday.
According to the statement, the presence of US ships in the Black Sea is consistent with international law and is in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, demonstrating America's commitment to peace and security in Europe. This is the second time this year the ship is entering the Black Sea and its movement is directly linked to Russia's alleged role in the ongoing Ukrainian crisis.
Following Crimea's reunification with Russia, NATO sent additional warships to the Black Sea. The missile destroyer USS Donald Cook, the USS Truxton, the USS Taylor and several other NATO warships were deployed to the Black Sea as the Ukrainian crisis escalated.
Moscow has repeatedly denied its involvement in Ukraine's internal affairs and criticized the bloc's growing military presence near Russia's borders, with President Vladimir Putin saying that the Ukrainian crisis was used by NATO as a pretext for "resuscitating" itself.
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