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Why the Donald Cook is still sailing the Black Sea

It’s been a week since the guided-missile destroyer Donald Cook sailed into the Black Sea for the second time in as many months amid simmering tensions with restive Russia.

The warship’s crew trained on Friday with the Turkish Yavuz-class frigate Fatih, practicing replenishment-at-sea, communications and electronic warfare operations with their NATO ally, according to a prepared statement issued by the U.S. Navy.

“Today’s exercise was another valuable experience for the crew of Donald Cook,” said Donald Cook’s Command Master Chief Jeremy Douglas in the Monday release. “Operating with Turkey is as enjoyable as it is crucial. No nation can combat global threats alone, working together gives us the opportunity to share information and experience.”

Black Sea Ops: Donald Cook and Turkish Frigate Train

Adm. James Foggo, commander of Naval Forces-Europe, announced last week that the Spain-based Arleigh Burke-class destroyer also is slated to visit the Ukrainian port of Odessa.

That raises eyebrows in the region because Moscow continues to imprison Ukrainian sailors from three gunboats captured by Russian forces during a Thanksgiving incident in the Kerch Strait, about 350 nautical miles east of Odessa.

The dock landing ship Fort McHenry also operated in the Black Sea in January before heading to the 5th Fleet’s area of operations.

During the amphibious warship’s cruise, it visited the Romanian port of Constanta and conducted maneuvers with Bucharest’s frigate Regele Ferdinand, all while under the watchful eye of a Russian vessel.

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