Friday, June 17, 2016

U.S. says it will stay in Black Sea despite Russian warning

Missile destroyer USS Porter
The United States will maintain its presence in the Black Sea despite a Russian warning that a U.S. destroyer patrolling there undermined regional security, the U.S. Navy Secretary said. The USS Porter entered the Black Sea this month, drawing heavy criticism from Moscow. Turkey and Romania are expected to push for a bigger NATO presence in the Black Sea at the NATO summit in Warsaw next month.

Aboard the USS Mason, another U.S. destroyer, in the Mediterranean on Thursday, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told Reuters that it was the U.S. Navy's job to deter aggression and keep sea lanes open.
Also increasing tensions with Moscow is the U.S. Navy's deployment of two aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean ahead the NATO summit as Washington seeks to balance an increase in Russian military activities. The U.S. aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower entered the Mediterranean late on Monday. The Eisenhower will relieve the USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group which later this month heads back to the United States after an extended eight-month deployment.

"We've been in the Mediterranean continuously for 70 years now, since World War Two," Mabus said. "We've been keeping the sea lanes open...It's what we do."