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US Navy warship enters Black Sea amid tensions with Russia: Reports

Move comes as US President Joe Biden set to discuss Russian influence at upcoming talks in Brussels
This picture taken on 1 March 2021 shows a view of the US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), part of Destroyer Squadron 2 (AFP)

A US Navy destroyer has entered the Black Sea, Turkish state media reported, as tensions continued to simmer around Russian involvement in Ukraine.

Turkey's Anadolu state news agency said the USS Laboon crossed the Bosphorus on Friday, just as US President Joe Biden met Western leaders at the G7 summit in the UK.

The US regularly sends warships into the Black Sea to bolster support for Ukraine, following Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

In April, Washington had notified Turkey that it may be sending two warships to the Black Sea, as required under the Montreux Convention on passage through the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, in response to a Russian build-up on the Ukraine border.

Those ships were never sent, however, as Russia pulled back its forces and the tensioned eased.

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Russian talks

Following his visit to Britain - his first foreign trip since being elected president in 2020 - Biden is set to travel to Brussels for a meeting of Nato that is likely to focus heavily on Russian influence in eastern Europe.

The president will also meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in Geneva.

US notified Turkey about warship deployment in the Black Sea, Ankara says
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"We are standing united to address Russia’s challenges to European security, starting with its aggression in Ukraine," Biden wrote in The Washington Post before leaving.

Turkey, a Nato ally, has a complicated relationship with both Ukraine and Russia.

Ankara doesn't recognise the annexation of Crimea by Russia and has deep defence ties with Kiev, which include joint projects on producing Turkey's famed armed drones with Ukrainian engines.

Ankara recently sold a number of TB2 Bayraktar armed drones to Kiev that could be used in a confrontation with Moscow.

Although Turkey has been fighting against Russia indirectly, from Syria to Libya and Azerbaijan, the two countries enjoy a friendly relationship, and Turkey has bought S-400 missile defence systems from Russia in recent years.

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