The flagship of the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet, the USS Mount Whitney, is sailing to the Black Sea, the US Navy reported on Twitter.
BREAKING: Sixth Fleet flagship #USSMountWhitney (LCC 20), with embarked SIXTHFLT and @STRIKFORNATO staff, began its northbound transit to the #BlackSea to operate with our @NATO allies & partners in the region! #PowerForPeace #StrongerTogether #WeAreNATO pic.twitter.com/TJkuf9VAxe
— U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet (@USNavyEurope) November 1, 2021
On board the ship are staff from the headquarters of the Sixth Fleet and the Naval Strike Force and NATO support.
Late in the week ending on October 31st, US and NATO commanders announced the start of operations in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. The purpose of these movements is to reportedly work on security and stability in the region.
In addition, the U.S. guided-missile destroyer USS Porter, entered the Black Sea on October 30th.
The U.S. Sixth Fleet tweeted on October 29th that USS Porter began its northbound transit to the Black Sea to operate with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies and partners in the region.
Porter will operate alongside NATO allies and partners in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, working together to ensure security and stability in the region while integrating with allied and partner surface and air forces. Maritime exercises and operations like this demonstrate the United States’ commitment to the Alliance and to the collective defense of Europe.
“The crew of USS Porter looks forward to entering the Black Sea to maintain safety and stability throughout the region,” said Cmdr. Christopher Petro, commanding officer of Porter. “Our ability to work alongside our NATO allies and partners enhances our collective readiness and overall maritime security.”
The fleet headquartered in Italy’s Naples, and Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO staffs began operations in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea to demonstrate “NATO’s commitment to maintaining freedom of navigation in international waters.”
Porter will participate in several multilateral exercises while in the Black Sea to refine ship-handling and maneuvering and practice air defense procedures.
“The power of alliances at sea is the ability to quickly bring together forces from many nations and aggregate naval power at the time and place of our choosing.” said Capt. Kyle Gantt, Commander, Task Force 65. “These operations in the Black Sea demonstrate the commitment to interoperability among NATO allies and partners.”
The exercises came as Russia terminated all official dialogue with NATO.
Initially, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko last week voiced concerns over NATO’s military build-up near Russian borders and its plan to turn the Black Sea region into a confrontation zone, which is “an extremely dangerous path fraught with risks of military incidents.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that US actions do not add stability:
„The Americans are actively trying to push the Black Sea countries that are members of NATO to a confrontational policy, and plans to create naval bases of the alliance on the coast of Romania or Bulgaria do not meet the interests of good neighborliness in the Black Sea region. … Nevertheless, Russia is ready for any threat, Lavrov said, stressing that Moscow is always in favor of promoting cooperation projects, not those based on confrontation.”
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