United States Navy destroyer USS Porter entered the Black Sea on Thursday to conduct routine maritime security operations and to train with Allies and partners in the region. This is reported by the NATO press service.

USS Porter is already the third US Navy ship to enter the Black Sea in recent days. In addition, the missile destroyer USS Donald Cook and the tanker USNS Laramie are there.

NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu welcomed the deployment, saying: “The Black Sea is of strategic importance to NATO. Three Allies – Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey – are littoral states, while Georgia and Ukraine are close partners. In response to Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and its ongoing military build-up in the Black Sea, the Alliance has increased its defensive presence in the region and remains strongly committed to Black Sea security”.

NATO is also strengthening support for Georgia and Ukraine, including with coast guard training and the sharing of information.