AFP BULENT KILIC
NATO spokeswoman Awana Longesco welcomed the entry of the American destroyer “Porter” to the Black Sea, stressing that the alliance’s steps come against the backdrop of “the continuing Russian military build-up” in the region.
She said, “In response to the illegal annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula by Russia and the continuing military build-up in the Black Sea, the alliance increased its defensive presence in the region, and remains absolutely committed to ensuring the security of the Black Sea.”
She added, “The Black Sea is of strategic importance for NATO.”
Longesco referred to 3 ally countries: Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey on the Black Sea, and Georgia and Ukraine, partners of the alliance.
NATO confirmed that the aircraft carrier USS Porter had entered the Black Sea to participate in “routine maritime security operations and training with allies and partners in the region.”
He pointed out that “Porter” is the third US Navy ship to enter the Black Sea in recent days, after the destroyer “Donald Cook” and the “USNS Laramie” supply ship.
In turn, the Russian National Center for Defense Affairs confirmed that the Black Sea Fleet has been following the American “Porter” destroyer since it entered the waters of the Black Sea.
The center said that “the forces and means of the Black Sea Fleet began to follow the movements of” Porter “that entered the waters of the Black Sea at seven o’clock in the evening of January 28.