U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) executed maneuvering exercises with the Hellenic Navy in the Mediterranean Sea, amid an escalating conflict with Turkey over natural gas reserves in the region.
Winston S. Churchill and the Hellenic Navy frigate Aegean (F 460) conducted the exercises to build partner capability using NATO operational and tactical procedures.
“Today’s exercises enabled Winston S. Churchill to work alongside our long-standing NATO Ally,” said Cmdr. Brian Anthony, executive officer of Winston S. Churchill. “It is an honor to train with Greece to advance our regional maritime security efforts.”
The U.S. Navy routinely trains with allied and partner nations in order to enhance maneuverability capabilities and interoperability by establishing communication and safety standards that strengthen regional maritime security.
Winston S. Churchill departed Norfolk, Virginia, Aug. 10 for a regularly-scheduled deployment to maintain maritime security and to ensure access, deter aggression, and defend U.S. allied and partner interests around the globe.
It is worth mentioning that exercise was launched in the eastern Mediterranean near a contested area where Turkey is prospecting for oil and gas, authorities said, drawing an angry response from Turkey.
The Turkish government disputes Greece’s claim to exclusive rights in the waters where Turkey’s Oruc Reis research vessel is now surveying. The United States and the European Union so far have broadly backed Greece in the dispute, but EU countries remain split over a request from Greece to impose sanctions on Turkey. The tensions between the two NATO members over Mediterranean Sea rights have echoed across Europe.
DW previously reported that Greece also launched military exercises jointly with France, Italy and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean on Wednesday.