15 Apr 2019 11:39

Russian naval ships escorting U.S. destroyer Ross in Black Sea

MOSCOW. April 15 (Interfax) - Russian naval ships are escorting the U.S. Navy's guided-missile destroyer Ross, which has entered the Black Sea, the National Defense Control Center of the Russian Defense Ministry said.

"The Black Sea Fleet's assigned forces and hardware have been continuously escorting the U.S. Navy's guided-missile destroyer Ross, which entered the Black Sea on April 14, 2019," it said.

According to the ministry, the USS Ross was detected upon its arrival in the Black Sea and was placed under non-stop observation by the fleet's coastal monitoring systems.

"Besides, the Vasily Bykov patrol ship and the Ivan Khurs reconnaissance ship of the Black Sea Fleet are directly monitoring the U.S. warship's activities," it said.

The Russian military said last week that the Black Sea Fleet's ships and aircraft were monitoring NATO's Sea Shield 2019 exercise.

The USS Ross, which is equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles and an Aegis ballistic missile defense system, is permanently stationed in Europe at Spain's Rota military base together with some of the U.S. Navy's other destroyers - the USS Donald Cook, USS Carney and USS Porter. These warships, along with Aegis air defense bases in Poland and Romania, are the main components of the program of building the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) missile defense system.

U.S. destroyers have repeatedly visited the Black Sea before. The 1936 Montreux Convention limits naval vessels belonging to non-Black Sea states to stays of no more than 21 days.