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US Navy cancels Black Sea deployment amid rising tension with Russia

Turkey’s Anadolu state news agency, quoting Turkish diplomatic sources, reported on 15 April that the deployment of two US Navy (USN) warships to the Black Sea scheduled for 14 and 15 April had been cancelled. Ankara had not been informed of any possible rescheduled dates.

The news followed an announcement on 14 April that the Russian Navy had launched a live-fire exercise in the Black Sea. The drills were carried out by the Black Sea Fleet in anticipation of the US deployment and involved a frigate, a minesweeper, corvettes, and numerous landing ships, in addition to naval aviation air assets, Russian state news agency TASS reported on 14 April.

Anadolu’s reporting matches that of other major US news outlets, which were confirmed by US naval and military sources, that the US 6th Fleet had planned for, and notified Turkey of, a tentative transit by two guided-missile destroyers (DDGs), believed to be USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) and USS Roosevelt (DDG 80).

Roosevelt is one of the DDGs homeported in Rota, Spain. Donald Cook also has been homeported in Rota but is being replaced this month by USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51), which arrived in Spain on 12 April. One of the ships would have likely transited into the Black Sea on 14 April, with the other making the transit the following day.

On 9 April Turkey announced that it had been formally notified of the transit of two US warships into the Black Sea and that they would remain in the region until 4 May. There was no confirmation from Washington of either the planned deployments or their cancellation. US officials said that Turkey may have misunderstood the initial notification and the deployment was never confirmed.

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