The frigate assigned to operations in the Black Sea as part of a U.S. show of support to allies in the region has left, leaving no U.S. surface ships in the region, U.S. Navy officials told USNI News on Monday.
USS Taylor (FFG-50) had been in the Black Sea off and on since Feb. 5 overlapping with the guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) and the command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20).
Taylor and Mount Whitney were originally in the region to provide support for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
Taylor remained in the Black Sea after running aground while attempting to moor in Turkey and then stayed as a show of support to regional U.S. allies after the Russian seizure of Crimea, according to U.S. officials.
“Taylor’s mission while in the Black Sea was to reassure NATO allies and European partners of the U.S. Navy’s commitment to strengthening and improving interoperability while working toward mutual goals in the region,” according to the Monday Navy statement.
The U.S. also sent guided missile destroyer Donald Cook — based at Naval Station Rota, Spain — to the Black Sea on April 10 as show of U.S. military muscle. The French also sent ship signals intelligence ship Dupuy de Lôme (A759) the same day.
The destroyer was buzzed by a Russian Sukhoi SU-24 Fencer on April 12 — two days after entering the region. Donald Cook left the Black sea on April 24, according to the service.
It’s unclear what NATO naval presence remains in the region.
The Russians have complained the U.S. had violated the so-called 1936 Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits.
Montreux rules call for warships from countries with out a coast on the Black Sea to depart after 21 days.