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US warship arrives at Romanian port amid Black Sea tensions

USS Fort McHenry participates in Blue-Green Workups, a semi-annual amphibious integration training period. (U.S. Navy, Photographer's Mate Airman Gary B. Granger)
This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A U.S. naval warship has arrived at a Romanian port, a show of force by the United States in the Black Sea, which Russia is closely watching.

The USS Fort McHenry is the first U.S. ship to enter the Black Sea since a naval standoff between Russian and Ukrainian forces near the annexed Crimea Peninsula in November.

Romanian and U.S. officials say the dock-landing ship arrived at the port of Constanta on January 7 and will remain there until January 10.

It will then hold joint sea maneuvers with a Romanian frigate in territorial and international waters.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many U.S. military personnel were involved.

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A U.S. Navy spokesperson told the TASS news agency that the warship was in the Black Sea in accordance with the international Montreux Convention, which governs naval access to this body of water.

The trip comes about six weeks after Russia seized three Ukrainian Navy vessels and their crews near the Kerch Strait, which connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

The November 25 confrontation occurred as Ukrainian ships were trying to cross under the Russian-built Kerch bridge to enter the Sea of Azov.

Mariupol, a major Ukrainian port, is situated on the north coast of the Sea of Azov.