Skip to main content

U.S. Navy ship to arrive in Black Sea by Thursday

By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent
updated 10:36 PM EDT, Tue April 8, 2014
The USS Donald Cook, pictured docked in Spain in this February file photo, has now been sent to the Black Sea.
The USS Donald Cook, pictured docked in Spain in this February file photo, has now been sent to the Black Sea.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The USS Donald Cook will be in the Black Sea by Thursday
  • Russian troops are still massed on the Ukraine border
  • NATO representatives will meet April 15 to discuss the situation

Washington (CNN) -- The Navy warship USS Donald Cook is scheduled to enter the Black Sea no later than Thursday as part of the latest U.S. military effort to demonstrate support for Eastern European allies concerned about Russia's troop buildup along its border with Ukraine.

The movement of the guided missile destroyer was confirmed to CNN by two U.S. military officials who declined to be identified because a formal announcement has not been made. The ship will conduct exercises and port visits while in the Black Sea. The guided missile destroyer USS Truxtun took part in scheduled exercises in the Black Sea last month and departed March 21.

NATO members Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey have Black Sea coastlines, as do non-members Ukraine, Russia and Georgia.

U.S. warship crosses into Black Sea
Pro-Russia rallies escalating in Ukraine
Is Russia instigating Ukraine protests?

The movement of the Navy warship into the Black Sea comes ahead of an April 15 meeting of top NATO political representatives to discuss and potentially approve a series of recommendations for additional military measures, including shortening the "response time" of NATO forces if there were a crisis. Other options on the table include more military exercises with member nations including the United States and potentially providing military advisers to Ukraine.

Using classified and commercial satellite imagery, the United States estimates there are up to 40,000 Russian troops on the border with eastern Ukraine. Those troops remain positioned so close, and are so heavily armed, that the U.S. and NATO calculate they could "roll across" eastern Ukraine in three to five days, one official said. That's an estimate previously made by Gen. Philip Breedlove, the military chief of NATO. There has been no withdrawal of Russian forces; other than perhaps small numbers, so the estimate remains in place, the official said.

Washington also believes that the recent unrest in eastern Ukraine around the city of Donetsk is the work of "paid or compelled persons, heavily influenced by Russia," the official said. The U.S. assessment is that the Russians are looking for a provocation to move into Ukraine. But the Ukrainian military response of moving in methodically and arresting troublemakers worked in this case, the official said.

Russia warns of civil war if Ukraine uses force to quell eastern revolts

U.S. to send missile defense ships to Japan to protect from North Korea

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:42 PM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
The shooting down of MH17 may finally alert Washington and Europe to the danger of the conflict in Ukraine.
updated 11:00 AM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Russia has not taken steps to end Ukraine conflict, President Obama said announcing sanctions against separatists, defense companies.
updated 5:36 PM EDT, Fri June 27, 2014
An agreement with the EU formally pushes Ukraine away from Russia. The Kremlin says it's okay with that.
updated 1:08 PM EDT, Sat June 28, 2014
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says peace is possible if Vladimir Putin is in the right mood.
updated 10:58 AM EDT, Fri July 4, 2014
Vladimir Putin said he hoped for better ties with the United States in a July Fourth message to Barack Obama.
updated 7:46 AM EDT, Fri June 27, 2014
EXCLUSIVE: Ukrainian President Poroshenko says he wants peace, and describes negotiations with President Putin.
updated 5:40 AM EDT, Tue April 1, 2014
Annexation is no longer the focus of Ukraine crisis. What happened?
updated 8:33 PM EDT, Mon June 9, 2014
Civilians are caught in the crossfire between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian separatists. Diana Magnay reports.
updated 2:23 PM EDT, Sat June 7, 2014
Petro Poroshenko sets the tone for his country's conversation with itself and the world, but how will Russia now react?
updated 1:11 PM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
Images from Ukraine amidst violence after President Petro Poroshenko's election
updated 9:38 AM EDT, Mon June 2, 2014
In the elegant surroundings of London's Somerset House, one oligarch is using art to get his message across.
updated 3:57 PM EDT, Tue May 27, 2014
As fighting continues in eastern Ukraine, many wonder how the region will ever heal. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports.
updated 1:20 PM EDT, Tue May 27, 2014
Images from Crimea, Donetsk, Kiev and elsewhere as the future of Ukraine lies in doubt.
updated 2:54 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Scenes from Ukraine and Crimea, captured by CNN teams.
ADVERTISEMENT