The missile destroyer USS Laboon has moved towards the Black Sea, the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet reported on Twitter.
BREAKING: #USSLaboon (DDG58) began its northbound transit into the #BlackSea to conduct #maritimesecurity operations in the region. The @USNavy routinely operates with our @NATO Allies & partners in the Black Sea!#PowerForPeace pic.twitter.com/4bnFTyuOgQ
— U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet (@USNavyEurope) June 11, 2021
The publication specifies that the ship is to conduct an operation “to ensure security in the region.”
“The US Navy regularly works with our NATO allies and partners in the Black Sea,” the post added.
The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Laboon, commissioned in 1995, is armed with two Aegis launchers, which carry up to 56 Tomahawk cruise missiles equipped with nuclear warheads. Also on board is an SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopter. The crew numbers 337 people.
Additionally, the USS Laboon has some support from NATO allies, namely the Netherlands and the UK.
The British destroyer HMS Defender and Dutch frigate HNLMS Eversten are in the port of Istanbul. Soon they will pay a friendly visit to the Black Sea.
According to systems tracking the movement of ships and vessels, on the eve of June 8, the destroyer and the frigate passed the Dardanelles from the Aegean to the Sea of Marmara.
The British missile destroyer Defender was part of the multipurpose aircraft carrier group (AMG) led by the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth of the British Royal Navy. “Defender” and “Evertsen” departed from the Greek naval base in the Gulf of Souda on June 6, specifies the Telegram channel “Not a very operational line”.
The NATO exercise Sea Breeze 2021, in which Ukraine will take part, is scheduled from June 28 to July 10 in the Western Black Sea region. In total, it is planned to use 4,000 military personnel, 40 warships, boats and auxiliary vessels, 30 aircraft and helicopters and more than 100 units of cars and armored vehicles.
The presence of NATO ships in the Black Sea has increased in 2021.
On April 27, the American patrol frigate Hamilton entered the water area. And immediately he conducted joint maneuvers with the Turkish frigate Yavuz.
May 4-6 was off the coast of Georgia, in Batumi, where he also conducted exercises with the Georgian coast guard, on May 8, “Hamilton” in the open sea, more than 100 miles from Odessa, participated in maneuvers together with the Ukrainian ship – the sea guard corvette “Grigory Kuropyatnikov “. On May 9, the Ukrainian patrol boat Starobelsk joined the Hamilton and Kuropyatnikov. After the completion of the exercises, on May 10, “Hamilton” arrived in Odessa.
The Black Sea is a real cauldron of rivalry between Russia and the West. However, the unity in NATO is weakened, and US President Joe Biden never announced the strategy of the White House in the region. This opinion was expressed by the former commander of the US Army in Europe, and now an expert on strategic studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis in Frankfurt, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges.
“The Black Sea is a real cauldron of rivalry between Russia and the West. The Baltic Sea is traditionally also important for them (Russia), there is St. Petersburg, and part of their outlet to the Atlantic goes through the Baltic Sea, Kaliningrad is a sovereign Russian territory, an administrative region. But in terms of economic influence and their ability to really influence the situation, the Black Sea is more important for Russia. This is her launching pad for everything she does in the South Caucasus, the Balkans and, of course, the Middle East, Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean,” the general said in an interview with the American National Review magazine.
“The Black Sea region is a real competition of power, and for some reason the West simply does not pay attention to it,” he added.
As Hodges said, “Today it is politics, tomorrow it is war.”