A second U.S. Navy warship entered the Black Sea Tuesday to reassure European allies amid tension over Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
The USS Taylor, a guided missile frigate, returned to the Black Sea to replace the guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook, which was ordered there earlier this month.
The Taylor recently concluded repairs to its propeller at the Navy base in Souda Bay, Greece, after it ran aground in the Black Sea in February while attempting to moor in Samsun, Turkey.
Officials said the Taylor would briefly overlap with the Cook, and the Navy would abide by Montreux Convention — a 1936 international agreement that restricts the passage through the Bosporus Straits and the Dardanelles of naval ships not belonging to Black Sea states.
In a release, Navy officials said the ship’s mission was to promote peace and stability in the region, but the presence of U.S. warships in the Black Sea has irked Russia. Earlier this month a Russian Su-24 fighter jet made a dozen close-range, low-altitude passes near the Cook while it operated in international waters. Pentagon officials called the act “provocative.”
While in the Black Sea, the Taylor will participate in exercises with NATO allies and partners in the region, Navy officials said.