A United States Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer operating in international waters in the Black Sea experienced several close interactions by Russian aircraft on December 23. USS Ross (DDG 71) encountered multiple, aggressive flight maneuvers by Russian aircraft that were performed within close proximity of the ship.
Two Russian SU-24 jets, accompanied by Su-27 (Su-30) fighters, made numerous close-range, low altitude passes and practiced a mock attack on the U.S. Navy destroyer en route to Odessa, according to a statement issued Tuesday by Air Force Command of Ukrainian Armed Forces.
“The aircraft has held the maneuver typical of an aerial strike by cruise missiles and returned to the airfield,” the Ukrainian Armed Forces message states.
Currently missile destroyer “USS Ross” has arrived in Odessa. American ship has entered Odessa seaport this morning.
Since 2014, the destroyer has been a frequent visitor to the Odessa region. In 2016, “USS Ross” in concert with USS “Whidbey Island” have taken part in “Sea Breeze -2016” international naval exercises.
This is the eighth time a U.S. Navy ship has visited the Black Sea since the beginning of 2019. The last ship to visit the Black Sea was USS Porter (DDG 78) in October. During its time in the Black Sea, Porter conducted a trilateral passing exercise with Ukraine and Romania, and strategic engagements during port visits to Odesa, Ukraine, and Batumi, Georgia.
“Throughout the year, U.S. 6th Fleet assets have operated in the Black Sea in support of our regional partners and allies,” said Vice Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6thFleet. “Ross’ transit demonstrates our continued commitment to security and stability in the maritime domain.”
Ross, forward-deployed at Naval Station Rota, Spain, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with international law, including the Montreux Convention.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.