Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met with US State Department Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker on board the missile cruiser USS Donald Cook (DDG 75), which had recently arrived at the Port of Odessa, the president’s website reported.
Poroshenko remarked on the symbolism of the meeting taking place on board the Donald Cook, which is a frequent visitor to the Black Sea and Odessa.
“It is a legendary ship, and it is an important signal to the Kremlin in the fifth year of occupation. Firstly, that Crimea is Ukrainian. Secondly, that freedom of navigation in the region will be ensured as guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and that the Ukrainian-American partnership is as united as ever. We are effectively cooperating in all spheres, including defense,” the Ukrainian president said.
“I am extremely appreciative of the fact that our American partners have increased their military presence in the Black Sea in response to our request. This is an important response to the act of aggression against Ukrainian ships on 25 November last year,” Poroshenko emphasized. He also pointed out that the Kremlin’s aggression affects not only Ukraine’s vital interests, but also the EU and NATO’s security in the Black Sea.
“I stress that the Kerch Bridge project has been used to attack Ukrainian ships. Perhaps tomorrow the Nord Stream 2 symbol will also emerge for an attack in the Baltic Sea, or in any other position… Today, investments in Ukraine’s security from the US are a clear confirmation of investment in the security of the whole region and the whole world,” the president added.
The USS Donald Cook, is based permanently in Europe at the Spanish military base in Rota, alongside the USS Carney, USS Ross and USS Porter. The American missile destroyer can carry up to 56 Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of 1,600 km, and is equipped with an Aegis missile defense system. The ship docked in the Port of Odessa on 25 February.