The United States warship, a Destroyer named ‘USS Nitze’, was seen to be operating in the Black Sea. This is the closest a US warship has been to Russia since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.
Nitze operates as part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group.
The ship entered the region and visited Turkey on February 3rd, which was confirmed on the US naval twitter account.
Several days later, the ship also visited Piraeus in Greece.
The last American warship to enter the region did so in December of 2021.
The significance of the visit
The US Ambassador to Turkey Jeff Flake, and the US Consulate General to Istanbul Julie Eadeh visited the ship for several hours.
The Ambassador made no connection between the ship’s presence and the on-going war between Russia and Ukraine. Rather, Flake described the visit as an opportunity to strengthen a NATO relationship.
“Turkey is a highly valued NATO Ally,” Flake said in a 6th Fleet news release. “Nitze’s visit is an opportunity to further strengthen our long-standing and vital partnership with Turkey.”
Notably, The United States has recently issued warnings to Turkey about Turkish exports to Russia. The exports include chemicals, microchips and other products that can be used in Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine.
Turkey has also been blocking Finland and Sweden from joining NATO, which some have said would benefit Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.
The US alliance with Turkey would seem to be in some form of competition with Turkey’s relationship with Russia.