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    USS Jason Dunham  sails during a passing exercise with the Romanian navy in the Black Sea April 5, 2015

    US Guided Missile Destroyer Takes Part in Naval Drills in Latvia

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    US guided missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham is on a short visit to Riga, Latvia as part of the stated US commitment to support Baltic nations against an overhyped but nonexistent threat from Russia and to increase security in the region, which Moscow sees as blatant saber-rattling on its borders.

    On July 12, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer took part in what the US Navy refers to as a passing exercise, or PASSEX, along with Latvian Navy patrol craft Jelgava.

    Aimed at increasing interoperability, these drills usually include "tactical maneuvering exercises, passenger transfers, bridge-to-bridge communication drills and simulated threat defenses with aircraft," US Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) said on its website.

    Earlier in July, the US destroyer visited Helsinki, Finland and Tallinn, Estonia.

    USS Jason Dunham with its home port in Norfolk is engaged in "naval operations in the US 6th Fleet area of operations in support of US national security interests in Europe," the ship's Facebook page states.

    The destroyer's visit to Latvia reflects a worrying trend reinforced following the outbreak of the Ukrainian civil war. The United States and NATO used the Ukrainian crisis as a pretext to enhance their military presence and increase war-games in the Russian neighborhood.

    The alliance describes its military buildup as "proportionate" and "defensive" activities, which pose no threat to any country, including Russia. Moscow remains unconvinced and has repeatedly voiced legitimate concern over the US and NATO's saber-rattling, warning it could undermine European stability and security.

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    Tags:
    NATO, military drills, USS Jason Dunham, US Navy, United States, Riga, Latvia
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