A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer is on the way to the Black Sea, but this isn't an emergency response to the crisis between Russia and Ukraine. The ship is on a planned routine exercise with Romanian and Bulgarian naval forces. Both countries are part of NATO.
“[The USS] Truxtun's operations in the Black Sea were scheduled well in advance of her departure from the United States,” the U.S. Navy said Thursday.
The announcement follows a U.S. decision to deploy fighter jets to the Baltic states, bordering with Russia, after Russia threatened military action on Ukraine and its autonomous region of Crimea.
In late February, after the Ukrainian parliament deposed pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, around 16,000 Russian troops entered Crimea. Russia entered on the pretext it was protecting the ethnic Russian majority. Moscow also amassed around 150,000 troops near Ukraine’s eastern border, and has threatened Kiev with military action.
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The Truxtun was on a scheduled deployment as part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, accompanying the eponymous aircraft carrier, when it left for the Black Sea.
The Navy did not comment directly on the tension in the Black Sea region. But it did say that the “the U.S. military operations and exercises are a part of a forward-presence posture to strengthen our transatlantic security and economic relationships.”