The American guided missile destroyer USS Ross is accompanied by three missile frigates, Francis Almejida (Portugal), Blas de Lezo (Spain) and Winnipeg (Canada).”USS Ross (DDG 71) will enter the Black Sea, Dec. 3, 2015, to promote peace and stability in the region,” the US Navy Sixth Fleet’s press release said.
It also noted that the ship’s mission in the Black Sea would be to provide maritime security and military readiness for US “allies and partners.”
The USS Ross is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile cruiser, armed with the Aegis cruise missile system, which is capable of carrying up to 56 nuclear-armed Tomahawk missiles. The ship class is also capable of carrying an SH-60 Seahawk multi-mission helicopter, and has a crew of 337 seamen.
On October 20, the USS Ross intercepted a ballistic missile as part of exercises testing elements of the US missile shield in Europe.
Turkish media said that the NATO naval group had arrived at a time when tensions between Turkey and Russia were at their highest.
During a November 30 meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg pledged full support for “Turkey’s right to protect its airspace and borders.”