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Russia Stages Black Sea Warship Drills Amid U.S. Destroyer Presence

The Admiral Makarov performed exercises “under combat training plans” after three U.S. vessels entered the Black Sea waters. Sergei Malgavko / TASS

A Russian warship has sailed out of its home berth in the Black Sea to confront a U.S. destroyer navigating the area, the Russian Navy announced Friday.

The Admiral Makarov performed air defense and combat-readiness exercises “under combat training plans,” Interfax cited the Navy’s Black Sea Fleet as saying.

“The frigate’s crew will next conduct joint exercises with the Bastion coastal defense missile system battery,” the Black Sea Fleet said.

Russia’s muscle-flexing comes hours after Turkish amateur ship watchers spotted the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter crossing the Bosphorus Strait toward the Black Sea.

The Aegis ballistic missile defense system-equipped warship is now the third U.S. Navy vessel in the area, joining destroyer USS Donald Cook performing joint drills with NATO and replenishment oiler USNS Laramie.

The U.S. Sixth Fleet announced that USS Porter’s multi-domain operations with NATO’s central air and space command builds on Donald Cook’s integration activities in Europe. It said the ships performed air- and maritime-superiority scenarios to enable freedom of navigation in international waters and airspace.

The ultimate goal of these operations is to refine joint air defense procedures to better defend U.S. Navy ships,” the Sixth Fleet said in a statement Thursday.

The Russian and U.S. drills come on the eve of planned exercises off the coast of Pakistan next month where the Russian Navy is expected to join NATO members for the first time in a decade.

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