US warship Truxtun begins naval exercise in Black Sea
The US military has described the exercise as a "routine" mission
scheduled ahead of the Ukraine crisis, which witnessed the
Ukrainian opposition forcing the democratically elected
president, Victor Yanukovich, to flee the capital Kiev on
February 22, a US Naval official told Reuters on Wednesday.
The Truxtun last week participated in drills with Romanian and Bulgarian ships a few hundred miles from Russian forces of the Black Sea Fleet.
"There are many reasons for exercises with allies, it allows us an opportunity to assure our NATO allies that we support them," Shawn Eklund, a public affairs officer for US Naval Forces Europe, told Reuters.
The naval maneuvers follow Russia and Crimea signing treaty of accession of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol in the Russian Federation.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister of Crimea Sergey Aksyonov and Sevastopol mayor, Aleksey Chaly, signed a historic agreement for Crimea and Sevastopol to join the Russian Federation
The Crimean Peninsula juts into the north of the Black Sea, which is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which was founded by Prince Grigory Potemkin in 1783.