U.S. warship USS Donald Cook sails through the Bosphorus on April 10 in Istanbul, Turkey, en route to the Black Sea. (Bulent Kilic / Getty Images)
The destroyer Donald Cook is set to enter the Black Sea Thursday amid tensions over eastern Ukraine.
Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steven Warren said Wednesday that the move shows America’s commitment to the region.
“The Donald Cook’s mission is to reassure NATO allies and Black Sea partners of America’s commitment to strengthen and improve interoperability while working towards mutual goals in the region,” Warren said.
The Donald Cook changed home ports from Norfolk to Rota, Spain, to be one of eventually four ships stationed there for ballistic missile defense patrols. The crew arrived in their new homeport in February.
The ship will participate in exercises with regional partners, Warren said. The Donald Cook’s presence follows that of the destroyer Truxtun, which left the area in late March.
Truxton entered the Black Sea ahead of the disputed Crimea referendum that Russia used as a basis to annex the region. At the time, military officials said the Truxtun was there on a pre-planned mission conducting exercises with the Romanian and Bulgarian navies.