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U.S. Sends Guided Missile Cruiser to Black Sea, 2 NATO Ships in Region

USS Vella Gulf (CG-72) transits the Atlantic Ocean on March 19, 2014. US Navy Photo

USS Vella Gulf (CG-72) transits the Atlantic Ocean on March 19, 2014. US Navy Photo

A Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser will enter the Black Sea on Friday “to promote peace and stability in the region,” the Navy announced on Thursday.

When 9,800-ton USS Vella Gulf (CG-72) enters the Black Sea on Friday, it’ll be the second NATO ship in the region following a French signals intelligence ship that passed through the Bosphorus last week.

The 3,600-ton Dupuy de Lôme (A759) was spotted in the region by amateur photographers crossing the strait on May 14.

The pair of ships are part of an ongoing presence mission Western countries have undertaken since Russia occupied the Crimean peninsula to reassure regional allies.

The U.S. has had an off and on presence in the Black Sea since February — initially in support of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Most recently, USS Taylor (FFG-50) and USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) were in the Black Sea.

Donald Cook was buzzed by a Russian fighter shortly after entering the region and left in late April.

Taylor left the Black Sea in mid-May to join Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) in the Eastern Mediterranean.

All warship from countries without a coast on the Black Sea operate under the so-called 1936 Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits.

Montreux rules call for foreign warships to depart after 21 days.