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US missile cruiser Donald Cook heading for Black Sea - Bulgarian media

SOFIA, April 08, /ITAR-TASS/. USS Donald Cook, a missile cruiser, is due to begin a “tour of duty” in the Black Sea water area within the next few days, Bulgarian mass media said Tuesday.

Sources at the Bulgarian Defense Ministry said that U.S. naval forces and their allies will have war games at sea. Also, the Donald Cook will whole call into a number of ports along coast, including some ports in Bulgaria.

In addition to this, some 175 U.S. marines will be deployed at the Romanian coast.

Derek Chollet, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs who is a principal advisor to the secretary on security strategy and policy issues, told a group of Congressmen earlier Tuesday that one more U.S. ship would be dispatched to the Black Sea in addition to the destroyer Truxton, which is already there.

Chollet said the demonstration of U.S. commitment to its obligations on maintaining international security to other member-states of the North Atlantic pact was a crucial element of the U.S. strategy, which included among other things like a prolongation of the Truxton’s detour to the Black Sea for war games with Romanian and Bulgarian forces and the dispatching of one more ship to the area within a few days.

Chollet said however the Pentagon did not plan a drastic revision of the defense budget in the wake of recent steps undertaken by Russia, which responded to an expression of legitimate will of the predominantly Russian-speaking population of Crimea to reunify with the motherland after six decades of a controversial forced affiliation with Ukraine.

He said that the basic strategic guideline of the four-year budget forecast of the Pentagon remained unchanged and the U.S. Armed Forces would continue doing the same things it had been doing before the current crisis over Ukraine.