RIA Novosti: US, French Warships Have Entered Black Sea – Report

File Photo of U.S. Navy Guided Missile Destroyer USS Donald Cook Firing Harpoon Missile

ANKARA, Turkey, April 11 (RIA Novosti) – The US guided-missile destroyer Donald Cook and French intelligence warship Dupuy de Lôme have entered the Black Sea, the Turkish newspaper Sabah reported Friday.

According to the US military command, the dispatch of the Donald Cook destroyer was a move to reassure the country’s NATO allies in the region amid heightened tensions due to the crisis in Ukraine.

Turkish political scientist Fatih Er told RIA Novosti that the US ships are not intended to scare Russia or conduct any military operations against the country.

“I do not think that in practice the Americans have some specific goal in mind, sending warships to the Black Sea. The ships going through the Turkish straits are not so much of a message to Russia, but rather a move towards Europe,” Er said.

“The US showed they are backing their European partners. The message by the Secretary of State and European leaders is rhetorical. I expect the US to make a move against Syria,” he added.

The USS Donald Cook is the third US warship sent to the Black Sea recently. In February, the US dispatched the missile frigate USS Taylor into the waters of the sea to provide security for the Olympic Games in Sochi.

The vessel ran aground off the coast of Turkey, and as a result exceeded the time it was allowed to spend in the region under international agreements.

Last month, the USS Truxtun passed through the Bosphorus to enter the Black Sea to conduct joint exercises with Bulgaria and Romania.

According to the Montreux Convention on the status of the straits, warships of countries that do not have access to the Black Sea may remain no longer than 21 days in the sea.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier said that the presence of US ships in the Black Sea has often exceeded the limit under the convention.

[featured image of USS Donald Cook is file photo from recent year]

Black Sea Satellite Photo file image