US warship arrives in Black Sea amid tensions with Russia

US warship arrives in Black Sea amid tensions with Russia
Sun Mar 9, 2014 19:36:41

A US Navy guided-missile destroyer has crossed Turkey's Bosphorus Strait and entered the Black Sea, as Washington heats up war of words against Russia heats up over the crisis in Ukraine.

The US military has described the deployment a “routine” move that was scheduled before the crisis, but the American media have reported that the presence of the warship in the Black Sea is a part of “defensive” measures to counter “Russian military aggression” in Ukraine.

On Saturday, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Moscow that any attempts to annex the autonomous Ukrainian region of Crimea to Russia will close the door to diplomacy. He told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that Crimea is part of Ukraine and Moscow should avoid military buildup there.

Moscow has warned against “hasty and reckless steps” by Washington that could harm Russian-American relations.

On Thursday, the parliament of Crimea voted to split from Ukraine and become part of Russia, calling a referendum in 10 days to validate its decision.

The Pentagon has announced plans to deploy more US fighter jets to allied countries located near Ukraine. Six F-15C Eagles and more than 60 American troops have arrived at Siauliai air base, Lithuania, while twelve F-16 fighter jets and 300 American troops are set to arrive in Poland.

The US Navy said in a statement last week that the Truxtun, which has a crew of about 300 sailors, would conduct training with Romanian and Bulgarian naval forces.

“While in the Black Sea, the ship will conduct a port visit and routine, previously planned exercises with allies and partners in the region,” the Navy said in a statement, without providing further details.

Tensions between the US and Russia have intensified over the unabated crisis in Ukraine.

On Saturday, US President Barack Obama warned of possible new measures against Russia if Moscow fails to defuse the crisis.

The Pentagon has suspended military ties with Russia, including joint maneuvers and port visits over the Ukraine crisis that erupted in November 2013 after the country’s ousted president, Viktor Yanukovych, refrained from signing the Association Agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.

On February 23, the Ukrainian parliament ousted Yanukovych and named anti-Kremlin Oleksandr Turchynov, the legislature’s newly-elected speaker, as interim president.


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