25 Feb 2019 15:15

U.S. destroyer's visit to Ukrainian port shows strength of bilateral partnership - ambassador

KYIV. Feb 25 (Interfax) - The visit of USS Donald Cook Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer to the Ukrainian port of Odesa symbolizes the strength of bilateral partnership, according to U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

"We warmly welcome the USS Donald Cook to Odesa. This ship visit symbolizes the strength of the U.S.-Ukraine partnership," the embassy quoted Yovanovitch's as writing on Twitter on Monday.

USS Donald Cook, which entered the Black Sea on February 19, arrived in Odesa on Monday. The destroyer, which carries up to 56 Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of 1,600 kilometers, dropped anchor off the Odesa sea terminal. The visit will end on February 27.

The destroyer, equipped with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, is permanently stationed at the Rota military base in Spain together with USS Carney, USS Ross, and USS Porter. The destroyers and the Aegis air defense systems deployed in Poland and Romania are part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) network.

According to the Turkish Defense Ministry, USS Donald Cook and the Turkish frigate TCG Fatih practiced in the Black Sea together last week. In January 2019, USS Donald Cook spent five days in the Black Sea in order to visit the Georgian port of Batumi and carry out a joint drill with ships of the Georgian Coast Guard Service.

The destroyer frequently participates in the Sea Breeze international exercises hosted by Ukraine.