Tag Archives: USS Taylor

US warship in Black Sea as Ukraine’s Crimea readies for referendum

The “USS Truxtun” destroyer

US Navy destroyer, the USS Truxtun, has crossed Turkey’s Bosphorus and entered the Black Sea. With the Crimea Peninsula getting ready to hold a referendum on independence from Ukraine in a week, the US is ramping up its military presence in the region.

USS Truxton is heading to “previously planned” training exercises with the Bulgarian and Romanian navies, AFP reported earlier. At the same time, Fox News declared that NATO’s bolstering presence in the Black Sea is a “defensive” measure to counter “Russian military aggression” in Ukraine.

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USS Truxton, with a crew of about 300, is an Arleigh Burke class destroyer equipped with the Aegis combat system, which integrates the ship’s radar, sensors and missile weapons to engage anti-ship missile threats. The warship is part of the USS George W. Bush Carrier Strike Group currently stationed in Greece. The carrier is not expected to move into the Black Sea in respect of the Montreux Convention of 1936, which closed Turkish Bosphorus and Dardanelles for ships with deadweight over 45,000 tons. With its 97,000 tons, the USS George W. Bush is the world’s largest warship.

USS Truxton has taken up the baton of American military presence in the region from frigate USS Taylor, which ran aground in the Turkish port of Samsun in the Black Sea last month, with a broken propeller hub and blades. On Friday, a tugboat began to tow the damaged warship to Greece’s island of Crete, where it will be repaired at the US Navy base in Souda Bay.

USS Truxton will reportedly stay in the Black Sea till mid-March. The Montreux Convention allows a warship of any non-Black Sea country to stay in the region for 21 day only.

During the military conflict between Russia and Georgia in August 2008, an American ship was also present in the Black Sea with reconnaissance and an officially proclaimed humanitarian mission. In September 2008, the US costal guard ship, Dallas, docked at Sevastopol harbor with a secret mission and had to leave in haste because of mass local protest.

Given the present conditions, an American battleship is highly unlikely to get anywhere near the Crimea shores, let alone Sevastopol, without a risk of repeating a hasty exit from the past.

On February 12, 1988, a Ticonderoga-class cruiser, the USS Yorktown, and a Spruance-class destroyer, the USS Caron, had to flee from Soviet territorial waters off the Crimean Peninsula. After the two American warships ignored the Soviet Navy’s demands to leave country’s territorial waters immediately, the Soviet frigate, Bezzavetny, simply rammed both American ships, forcing them to comply with international maritime rules.

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Navy destroyer USS Truxtun crosses Dardanelles en route to Black Sea (VIDEO)

The US Navy guided missile destroyer, the USS Truxton, crossed the Dardanelles on its way to the Black Sea amidst the turmoil in Ukraine.

The Dardanelles is a narrow stretch of water in Turkey that separates Europe and Asia. The Truxton still has to pass through the Bosphorus Straights in Istanbul before it reaches the Black Sea.

The Truxton is part of the Arleigh Burke class of destroyer and is among the largest destroyers ever built for the US navy. It is designed as a multi-role warship with anti-aircraft, anti-submarine and anti-surface capabilities.

The US military said on Thursday it was a routine deployment for “previously planned exercises” scheduled long before the current crisis in Ukraine.

The USS Truxton is to carry out training exercise with the Romanian and Bulgarian navies, both members of NATO, which involve joint maneuvers including landing aircraft on ships.

“Truxton’s operations in the Black Sea were scheduled well in advance of her departure from the US,” said Lieutenant Shawn Eklund, a spokesman for the US military.

The Truxton is part of the George HW Bush Carrier Strike Group, which recently entered the Mediterranean and is training with regional navies.

Ukrainian bloggers share the images of the nuclear aircraft carrier with the hashtag #Aquamaidan, in reference to Euromaidan, which was the epicenter of the anti-government protests in Kiev.

The USS Truxton will join the USS Taylor as the only two US vessels in the Black Sea. The Taylor, a guided missile frigate, is moored in Samsun, Turkey after running aground in February.

This comes as Poland’s defense minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, said on Thursday that the US air force will send 12 F-16 fighter jets and 300 service personnel to Poland next week to take part in a training exercise, whose size has been expanded in response to the crisis in Ukraine.

The exercise will be centered on the Lask air force base in central Poland and was originally only to have involved transport aircraft.

The US military also announced on Thursday that a further six F-15 fighter jets will be sent to Lithuania to help step up NATO patrols in the region.

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