US to conduct more joint exercises in Black Sea amid Ukraine crisis

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The United States says it will conduct more war games with allied states in the Black Sea, as tensions between Washington and Moscow grow over the autonomous Ukrainian region.

Last week, the USS Truxtun, a US Navy guided-missile destroyer, conducted joint exercises with Romanian and Bulgarian ships a few hundred kilometers (miles) from the Russian forces deployed in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, where a referendum is to be held Sunday on whether to break away from Ukraine and join Russia.

US to conduct more joint exercises in Black Sea amid Ukraine crisis

The USS Truxtun will remain in the Black Sea to carry out more exercises with allied ships, its commander said on Saturday.

“I cannot comment on our future operations but we will take the opportunity to do some routine exercises with our allies in the region,” Commander Andrew Biehn said.

He was briefing reporters aboard the 300-crew warship as it lay docked in the Bulgarian port of Varna in the Black Sea.

Biehn did not provide further details about the drills or the next port of dock of the destroyer.

“This exercise was pre-planned several months ago and it was very important because we’re able to work together with the Romanian navy and the Bulgarian navy,” Biehn claimed.

“I cannot comment on our future operations but we’ll take the opportunity to do some routine exercises with our allies in the region. Our operation was planned a long time before the start of the Crimean crisis,” he added.

The move comes just days after the Pentagon announced plans to deploy more US fighter jets in allied countries located near Ukraine. Six F-15C Eagles and more than 60 American troops arrived at Siauliai air base, Lithuania last week, while twelve F-16 fighter jets and 300 US soldiers landed in Poland this week.

Tensions between the US and Russia have intensified over the unabated crisis in Ukraine.

On March 6, the parliament of Crimea voted to split off from Ukraine and become part of Russia, calling a referendum in 10 days to validate its decision.

On March 8, US President Barack Obama warned of possible new measures against Russia if Moscow fails to defuse the crisis.

In an interview with Press TV on March 9, Scott Rickard, a former American intelligence official said the United States started to boost its military presence in the Baltic region in January this year, showing that Washington knew then what was in store for Ukraine.

“Regarding the Americans’ sending more fighters to and also more military presence into the Baltic areas, unfortunately, this is actually another show of force that the Americans have done. They actually did a preemptive move in January,” said Rickard,

“So they had some anticipation of what they were doing because there were some moves in January whereby the Americans and NATO made the decision where the United States assumed control of all the air-policing that is over these Baltic countries, including Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in January this year,” he added.

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One Response

  1. stevor says:

    I’m glad we have those Romanian and Bulgarian ships with us, aren’t you?

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