05:53 GMT26 January 2021
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    The commander of the Ladny guided missile frigate ordered a cordial greeting for his US counterpart when the USS Donald Cook entered the Black Sea on August 28, a US Navy Vice Admiral reported.

    The Russian frigate Ladny hailed the USS Donald Cook when it entered the Black Sea at the end of August, and greeted the ship's commanding officer Commander Chuck Hampton by name, said US Vice Admiral James Foggo said on Wednesday.

    The welcome is the warmest yet from the Russian navy's Black Sea fleet, whose ships operate professionally but often ignore communication from the US Navy.

    "When we are at sea and our warships encounter one another, we communicate the way we do with any other navy," Foggo told reporters, explaining that such communication involves radio calls and flashing lights.

    USS Jason Dunham operates in the Black Sea
    © Flickr / Official U.S. Navy Page
    Naval commanders of the Russian fleet often do not respond to the contact, said Foggo, but this time "it was cordial."

    "It is better than it was before," said the admiral. 

    The Russian navy monitors US ships which enter the Black Sea through the Bosphorus Strait, where "nine times out of 10, a Russian warship is waiting for us," said Foggo, whose US navy forces previously entered the Black Sea for Exercise Breeze and Exercise Sea Shield in July, and Exercise Trident Poseidon in May. 

    Guided missile frigate Ladny
    © Sputnik / Vasiliy Batanov
    Guided missile frigate Ladny
    The Ladny Krivak 1 class guided missile frigate greeted the USS Donald Cook, an Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, after it passed through the Bosphorus Strait.

    "While we are out there in close proximity, we keep an eye on them as they keep an eye on us," said Foggo. "So far, it has been professional interaction."

    In addition to the Russian warship's accompaniment of the Donald Cook, Russia's Black Sea naval fleet will also keep an eye on the Sea Breeze naval drills currently being carried out by NATO and Ukrainian naval forces in the Black Sea, using radio intelligence and reconnaissance aircraft.


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