The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) departed Odesa, Ukraine, February 27, 2019, after completing a scheduled port visit as part of its continued Black Sea presence and support to NATO allies and regional partners.
While in port, the ship hosted senior-level government discussions between U.S., Ukrainian, and other European representatives, including Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Ambassador Kurt Volker, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, and U.S. European Command Civilian Deputy to the Commander Ambassador Philip Reeker, the U.S. 6th Fleet said on its website.
"Donald Cook's port visit to Odesa served as the third opportunity for our ship to engage with our Black Sea allies and partners in 2019. Last month, we conducted a maritime exercise with our counterparts in the Georgian Coast Guard. Just a few days ago, we conducted training at sea with a Turkish frigate, and today we concluded a short, but significant visit to Odesa that allowed us to strengthen the U.S.-Ukrainian maritime relationship. These valuable engagements allow us to learn from each other, and I look forward to any future opportunities to return to the Black Sea," Donald Cook Commanding Officer Cmdr. Matthew Powel said.
Leading up to the port visit, the ship conducted maritime interoperability training with the Turkish navy, aimed at enhancing regional maritime stability, combined readiness and naval capability with NATO allies and partners.
Donald Cook entered the Black Sea on February 19, to strengthen interoperability with NATO allies and partners and demonstrate collective resolve in the Black Sea.
Donald Cook is the third U.S. naval vessel to conduct operations in the Black Sea in 2019, marking the fourth U.S. ship to visit Odesa since January 2018. In January, Donald Cook and Fort McHenry conducted port visits to Georgia and Romania, respectively.
The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with international law, including the Montreux Convention.
After departing Odesa on February 27, Donald Cook will depart the Black Sea on March 1, as scheduled. It will then continue its eighth forward-deployed naval forces patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.