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 9:17 AM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Donetsk's neediest line up for food handouts. There are long queues at the bus station as people try to leave town. There are no banks left open.
updated 5:25 AM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Barking overwhelms the thud of artillery fire. An animal shelter is crammed with 1,000 dogs, many orphans of the conflict with owners who have fled or been killed.
updated 3:51 AM EDT, Fri October 3, 2014
Reza Sayah looks into why thousands of Ukrainians have left their old lives to volunteer to fight.
updated 4:48 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
CNN's Ralitsa Vassileva speaks to The New Republic's Linda Kinstler about Putin's motives with Ukraine and China.
updated 10:36 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
President Barack Obama speaks at the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
updated 5:58 PM EST, Thu November 13, 2014
The Commander of NATO forces in Europe says Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defense systems and Russian troops -- all heading into Ukraine.
updated 8:58 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 broke apart in the air after it was hit by a burst of "high-energy objects" from outside, a preliminary report by Dutch aviation investigators said Tuesday.
updated 12:11 PM EDT, Wed September 3, 2014
On a country road in eastern Ukraine, a scene of bucolic tranquility was suddenly interrupted by the aftermath of carnage.
updated 4:19 PM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
In the city of Donetsk, the devastation wrought by weeks of fighting between pro-Russia rebels and Ukrainian forces is all too apparent.
updated 8:00 PM EDT, Sun August 31, 2014
CNN's Diana Magnay reports from the front lines in the Ukrainian conflict.
updated 7:26 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
A few miles south of the town of Starobeshevo in eastern Ukraine, a group of men in uniform is slumped under a tree.
updated 9:43 AM EDT, Sat August 23, 2014
A shopkeeper's mutilated body, relatives' anguish, homes destroyed ... this is Donetsk.
updated 7:12 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
A 20-minute drive from Kiev takes you to a neighborhood that feels more like Beverly Hills than central Ukraine.
updated 9:12 AM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Photos illustrate the ongoing crisis in Ukraine as fighting continues to flare in the region.
updated 12:31 PM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Future imports, exports between the EU and Russia are now banned -- but existing contracts continue.
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
updated 5:25 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
The downing Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 put the pro-Russia rebels operating in Ukraine's eastern region center stage.
ADVERTISEMENT