As the US Navy’s guided-missile destroyer USS ‘Ross’ entered the Black Sea on Sunday, Russia sent its small missile ship ‘Vyshny Volochyok’ to survey its actions. It’s the eighth US Navy vessel to arrive in the region this year.
USS ‘Ross’ has carried out several missions in the Black Sea since a spike in tensions between Moscow and Washington after Crimea’s reunification with Russia and the breakout of the Ukrainian conflict in 2014.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer made headlines in 2015 after Russian Su-24 jets were scrambled to warn off the American ship, which was acting “provocatively and aggressively” near Russian territorial waters.
The last time ‘Vyshny Volochyok’ was sent to monitor an American warship was mid-October, when it joined two other Russian vessels to track an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS ‘Porter.’
Washington insists that its naval missions in the Black Sea are carried out in line with international law on a rotational basis. It says their aim is to support freedom of navigation and reassure NATO allies in view of the so-called “Russian threat.”
Moscow believes the American military has no business in the region, with the presence of the US Navy only adding to tensions and increasing the risk of incidents, which in a worst-case scenario could provoke a military conflict in Europe.