Russia’s doorstep: Biden dispatches 2 U.S. destroyers to Black Sea

by WorldTribune Staff, January 31, 2021

Joe Biden, who during the November election called reports of his family’s alleged corrupt foreign dealings “Russian disinformation,” has deployed two guided-missile destroyers to the Black Sea in what military analysts say is a clear message to Vladimir Putin.

USS Donald Cook and a Navy P-8 surveillance plane

The U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet said that the destroyer USS Porter entered the Black Sea on Thursday, joining another destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, and a refueling ship, the USNS Laramie.

Related: Convoy of U.S. troops enters Syria from Iraq, January 22, 2021

“Every time our adversary changes how they operate, we stay one step ahead of them,” said Capt. Joseph Gagliano, commander of the Navy’s Task Force 65. “We maintain control of the sea by drawing from the best capabilities of the NATO alliance, and together we are guaranteeing stability in the Black Sea.”

Russia reportedly reacted by moving a Bastion missile defense system into position in Crimea.

Russia’s state-run TASS news agency said the Kremlin is tracking the U.S. moves: “U.S. ships sail into the Black Sea periodically. The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly noted that presence of ships in the Black Sea that belong to states outside of the region does not boost stability there.”

The Russian military on Friday said it had launched a series of naval exercises in the Black Sea. The exercises included the destroying of mock air targets and practicing the use of electronic warfare jamming measures.

U.S. military officials described the Black Sea mission as “part of a continual integration of air and maritime units operating across the U.S. European Command area of responsibility.”

“The ultimate goal of these operations is to refine joint air defense procedures to better defend U.S. Navy ships,” the Navy said in a statement. “Participants conducted scenarios to establish air and maritime superiority, which enable freedom of navigation in all international waters and airspace.”

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