The large landing ship of the US Navy Fort McHenry passed through the Dardanelles and has entered the Black Sea. On board the ship are soldiers of the 22nd expeditionary detachment of the US Marine Corps.
The ship’s visit to the Black Sea was announced last month, when some officials in Washington claimed that the sending of American forces to the Black Sea was connected with the provocation of Kiev in the Kerch Strait.
The commander of the Sixth Fleet of the US Navy, which is responsible for the Mediterranean Sea and the adjacent waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Vice-Admiral Liza Franchetti called the ship’s entry into the Black Sea necessary for security in the region, as well as for strengthening US ties with NATO allies and partners. [We note that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization members with a Black Sea Coast are Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey.]
“The passage of USS Fort McHenry confirms our collective determination to provide security on the Black Sea and strengthens our strong relations with NATO allies and partners in the region,” the admiral posted on the Sixth Fleet Facebook page.
We note that NATO warships periodically enter the Black Sea. So, at the end of December 2018, Britain sent a ship to Odessa. As British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said, London thereby “sent a signal to Russia.” In addition, he called the presence of the ship in the region a sign that Ukraine “can count on a reliable partner in the United Kingdom.”
In turn, the Russian embassy in London criticized the decision of the British authorities to incite Kiev to the next military provocations under the pretext of “resolving the internal Ukrainian conflict.”
It is curious that the so-called British “signal to Russia” was ridiculed even by the American magazine The National Interest. As the author noted, the UK sent a multi-purpose hydrographic ship to Odessa that is capable of performing only scientific tasks, being armed only with two twenty-millimeter cannons. According to the magazine, even the boats of the Ukrainian Navy, which organized a provocation in the Kerch Strait, had better armament.