A 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 Twitter account of the US Navy's Sixth Fleet.
Merhaba , Gölcük !@usnavy destroyer #USSNitze (DDG 94), attached to the @GHWBCVN77, arrived to the Turkish port of Gölcük for a scheduled port visit, Feb. 3, 2023.For more: https://t.co/isohZm8iHK#StrongerTogether— U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet (@USNavyEurope) February 5, 2023
Several days later, the ship also visited Piraeus in Greece.
The last American warship to enter the Black Sea region did so in December of 2021.
The significance of the visit of the US warship amid the Russia-Ukraine War
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 ongoing 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 Sixth 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.