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 US set to stay in Black Sea in defiance of Russia's protests

The United States will maintain its presence in the Black Sea despite a Russian warning that a U.S. destroyer patrolling there undermined regional security.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said, Censor.NET reports citing Reuters.

Read more: Moscow follows Kyiv-NATO dialogue on reinforcement in Black Sea, - Russian Foreign Ministry

The USS Porter entered the Black Sea this month, drawing heavy criticism from Moscow. Turkey and Romania are expected to push for a bigger NATO presence in the Black Sea at the NATO summit in Warsaw next month.

Aboard the USS Mason, another U.S. destroyer, in the Mediterranean on Thursday, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told Reuters that it was the U.S. Navy's job to deter aggression and keep sea lanes open. "We're going to be there," Mabus said of the Black Sea. "We're going to deter. That's the main reason we're there - to deter potential aggression."

Watch more: Five naval groups and air fleet to be involved in Black Sea water area protection. VIDEO

Mabus spoke days after Russia criticized NATO discussions about creating a permanent force in the Black Sea. The NATO summit takes place as relations between Russia and the Alliance are severely strained over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis and in Syria. While Russia says it poses no threat to the Alliance, NATO is considering what to do to counter what it sees as growing Russian aggression.

Mabus said the United States follows the rules of the Montreux Convention, which states that countries without a Black Sea coastline cannot keep their warships there for more than 21 days. NATO members Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria are all Black Sea Basin countries.

Read more: NATO may expand its Black Sea presence to deter Russia, - Vershbow

Also increasing tensions with Moscow is the U.S. Navy's deployment of two aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean ahead the NATO summit as Washington seeks to balance an increase in Russian military activities in the Mediterranean.

"We've been in the Mediterranean continuously for 70 years now, since World War Two," Mabus said. "We've been keeping the sea lanes open... It's what we do."

Read more: US sends two aircraft carriers to Mediterranean to deter Russia and fight against IS, - Reuters
 
 
 
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