US to deploy warships to the Black Sea

The US will reportedly send two warships to the Black Sea today–both are expected to remain until May 4. The

US ships Black Sea

Photo: Reuters

The US will reportedly send two warships to the Black Sea today–both are expected to remain until May 4.

The US naval presence in the region is a response to Russia’s buildup of forces along Ukraine’s eastern border, the strongest concentration of Russian troops there since Moscow’s unilateral annexation of Crimea in 2014. They were likely deployed to test the new US administration’s reaction. President Joe Biden has affirmed Washington’s unwavering support for Ukrainian sovereignty and integrity to counter Russian aggression.

Expect these warships’ presence to increase tensions along the Russian-Ukrainian border while dissuading further Russian action. Escalation through territorial annexation, similar to the Crimea, is unlikely given visible US support. Instead, expect Russia to conduct military exercises along the border while continuing to tacitly support separatists in the Donbas region.

Today’s actions signal both US support for Ukraine and willingness to respond to Russian aggression under the new administration. Given the recent Solar Winds hack and Russia’s commitment to challenge the US, it is unlikely the two will reach a détente in the medium-term. Instead, this will set a trend for future relations under the Biden administration, with the US countering Russian aggression with concrete actions like cyber-operations to target Russian infrastructure.

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