By passing through the Bosporus Strait on Saturday, the Navy’s guided missile destroyer Donald Cook became the second American warship to enter the Black Sea this month amid ongoing tensions with Moscow.
Two weeks before, the dock landing ship Fort McHenry arrived at the Romanian port of Constanta to begin exercises with Bucharest’s frigate Regele Ferdinand — while being shadowed by a Russian warship.
The Donald Cook pulled into Batumi, Georgia, on Monday with a mission to “strengthen interoperability with NATO allies and partners and demonstrate the collective resolve to Black Sea security under Operation Atlantic Resolve,” according to a prepared statement released by the Navy.
“I would like to thank our Georgian hosts for the warm welcome and hospitality,” said Cmdr. Matthew J. Powel, commanding officer of Donald Cook said in the release. “We are honored to play an active role in strengthening U.S.- Georgian relations and we look forward to visiting Batumi.”
Sailors planted trees Tuesday for a community service project in Georgia’s second largest city and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer’s leaders met with American and foreign dignitaries at a reception featuring an address by Ross Wilson, the U.S. ambassador to Georgia.