A U.S. guided missile destroyer has entered the Black Sea on Friday, ship spotters told USNI News.
USS Oscar Austin (DDG-79) passed through the Bosporus Strait on Friday for operations in the Black Sea.
“The ship’s operations in the Black Sea are meant to enhance maritime security and stability, and combined readiness and naval capability with our NATO allies and partners,” read a Monday statement from U.S. 6th Fleet.
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“We’re building strong relationships here, which are crucial to peace and stability in the region. Our presence here bolsters confidence and reassures allies of our commitment to security in the Black Sea,” Austin’s commander Cmdr. Janice Smith, said in a statement.
The Norfolk-based destroyer left on an independent deployment in April for the Europe and the Middle East.
The ship entered U.S. 6th fleet area of responsibility in late April.
Austin’s arrival to the Black Sea is the latest U.S. ship in an ongoing NATO presence mission in the region since 2014. The last U.S. ship in the Black Sea was the amphibious warship was USS Carter Hall (LSD-50). The ship was embarked with Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit that exercised with Romanian military forces as part of bilateral Spring Strom 2017 exercises.
Previous to Carter Hall, the destroyer USS Porter (DDG-78) had operated in the Black Sea and was buzzed by Russian fighters during its time in the region.