U.S. Missile Cruiser Visits Ukraine’s Sevastopol Port

SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine -- A U.S. missile cruiser arrived on Friday in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol on an official visit which local authorities tried to kept secret to avoid protests, a source in the Sevastopol port said.

USS Philippine Sea in Sevastopol, Ukraine. An old Communist (R) waves his fist at the American missile cruiser.

USS Philippine Sea (CG-58) had to wait for several hours before entering the Sevastopol harbor to skip an “unwelcome reception” by the crowds of protesters who had been gathered at the port since early morning.

“In order to avoid protests, the city authorities kept the timing of the visit a secret."

"The American officials will hold several meetings with their Ukrainian colleagues, but no major exercises are scheduled,” the source said.

Locals in Ukraine's Crimea, which has a largely Russian-speaking population, frequently protest against visits by NATO ships as Sevastopol also hosts the main headquarters and the base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

Philippine Sea is a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser equipped with the Aegis combat system and 26 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

It is one of the U.S. warships being deployed in the Mediterranean as part of the Phased Adaptive Approach program designed to shape the European segment of the U.S.-led project to build a global missile defense network.

The Philippine Sea has earlier made a stop at the Georgian port of Batumi for exercises with the Georgian coast guard ships.

Source: RIA Novosti