ODESA, Ukraine, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter arrived in Odesa, Ukraine in support of the NATO initiative to promote peace in the region.
The U.S. Navy says the Porter's presence in the region is meant to reaffirm its commitment to NATO, while also allowing U.S. maritime forces to connect with local forces and strengthen the alliance.
"During our port visit, the crew will have the opportunity to experience the rich cultural heritage of Ukraine as well as strengthen bonds between our maritime forces," said Cmdr. Blair Guy, the commanding officer for the Porter. "Ukraine is a key partner for the U.S., and our presence here demonstrates the U.S. commitment to maintaining a persistent presence in Eastern Europe."
The Porter is scheduled to host a reception for naval counterparts to promote partnership between Ukrainian and U.S. sailors. The ship operates as part of the U.S. Navy's Sixth Fleet area of responsibility, which promotes peace and security in Europe and Africa.
The Porter's arrival comes as NATO officials move to bolster their defenses to counter Russian aggression in Syria and Ukraine. Ukraine's government remains locked in a battle with Russia-backed militants based in the eastern portion of the country.