|Photo USS VICKSBURG Flagship of the NATO Flotilla now in the Black Sea.|
According to accounts in the DOD publication STARS AND STRIPES International warships assigned to a U.S.-led NATO maritime group entered the Black Sea on Wednesday to train with NATO members/partners in the region.Six ships make up the current group, one of two immediate-reaction forces under the alliance's maritime arm. The group is commanded by U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Brad Williamson, who is embarked with his staff on the guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg. The other ships in the NATO maritime group are the Canadian frigate HMCS Fredericton, the Turkish frigate TCG Turgutreis, the German tanker FGS Spessart, the Italian frigate ITS Aliseo, and the Romanian frigate ROS Regina Maria.
An international treaty limits the number of non- area war ships that may enter at any one time and the duration of their visits. NATO naval flotillas and U.S. ships have increased the frequency and duration of their visits to near treaty limits since the Russian take over of the Crimea.
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