U.S. Sends Warship to Black Sea, Says Russia Hasn't Pulled Troops Yet


US Govt

The United States and Russia are flexing muscles over Ukraine. The USS Vella Gulf, a guided missile cruiser, is heading for the Black Sea. At the same time, there are conflicting reports about whether Russia has withdrawn any of its 40,000 troops stationed along the Ukrainian border.

According to Agence France-Press, the warship will take the place of the USS Taylor, which departed earlier this month, because "the 1936 Montreux Convention that governs the Black Sea bars outside countries from keeping warships in the strategic waters more than 21 days." Prior to the Taylor, the USS Truxtun patrolled the sea.

Just as the previous vessels were intended to provide "strategic reassurance" to the region as Russia invaded and annexed Crimea from Ukraine, the Vella Gulf is likely intended to send a warning to Russia not to interfere with Ukraine's presidential election, which will take place this Sunday.

Russia announced today that it's moving troops away from Ukraine. Reuters reports:

The Kremlin said on Monday that President Vladimir Putin had told his defense chief to order troops to pull back from the frontier with Ukraine, where eastern regions have fallen largely under the control of pro-Russian rebels.

After spending a day dismantling field camps, packing and preparing military vehicles, forces in the Rostov, Belgorod and Bryansk provinces "have begun to move toward train stations and airfields", the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

It said troops were returning to their permanent bases, but did not specify how many troops were leaving the border provinces and made no mention of two other provinces that border eastern Ukraine.

Yet, this isn't even the first time this month Russia has made such a promise. On May 7 President Vladimir Putin made the curious claim that he had given the order and troops were already gone, but that was almost immediately debunked by satellite images that showed them still in position. So, the West is skeptical. 

"What we know thus far is that there has been certain troop movements, but I have received no confirmation, either through Pentagon sources or NATO sources, that there has been a wholesale repositioning of those troops off the border," U.S. Army Secretary John McHugh said today.

NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen corroborated, "I wake up every morning hoping to see a real and meaningful withdrawal of Russian troops, but I have to tell you that so far we have not seen any visible evidence of a withdrawal of Russian troops."

Meanwhile, Ukraine earns creativity points for producing little chocolates that look like Putin in a prison uniform.

NEXT: Study Finds More Info Could Lead to Less Support for Intervention; Slate Depressed

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  1. Putin on the Ritz, lol

    1. Putin all kinds of shame in the game you’ve got
      We keep the party movin to the broad day light
      g.e.t.l.i.v.e. alright

      1. Did Playa get in touch with you? There are shenanigans and rumors of shenanigans.

        1. Sloopy still hasn’t sent me EDG’s email. Just give him the info here…

          1. Playa and I are working on a Reason meetup with enough lead time for people to make it and likely charred or swished meat, but we figured that shouldn’t stop us from more impromptu get togethers.

            Sudden has invited us to join he and Ranned Pall oyster happy hour in DTLA.

            Green Hut Cafe (
            808 W 7th St
            Los Angeles, CA 90017


            *copy and paste as needed in other threads*

            1. I’m ordering the vegan chicken.

              1. You mean a chicken that only eats vegan food?

                1. Or, perhaps, a chicken from a planet orbiting the star, Vega?

                  1. There used to be a place in Whittier that had surprisingly good fake-meat Chinese food. The beef was incredible, but the chicken meat had been formed to be like raw chicken and had bumps on it. It was tasty, but a little too soft if you could get past that, but I always ordered the “beef”.

                    1. Same deal with Fragrant Vegetable in Monterey Park. Long gone, sadly.

                      Racist Trigger Warning: The Chinese in Monterey Park drive so badly that the Mexicans get insurance.

                2. A very valid question. I will be sure to get this information tonight and report back here as soon as possible.

                  I really hope it is a chicken with a vegan diet, because that would make even less sense than fake chicken.

                  1. Chickens have a right to morally upright cuisine, too!

            2. No one has a Reason meetup in Seattle. I mean, I suppose if there was one, Episiarch would go, and I’m not sure I’d want to go to any meetup where Episiarch was present. Then I’d probably have to actually interact with my mom.

              1. I’d tell her not to come, Paul, but…you know what she’s like.

              2. Dude, Paul, if you’re going cordless soon, you should be the one hosting a pool party.

                  1. Nicer than I expected.

                  2. Well, I guess maybe we should use my pool then. And in 45 days it’ll almost be summer!

        2. Not yet. I’ll email you.

          1. It’s like I’m watching the cool kids eat at their table, without being able to hear what they’re saying.

            1. There you go.

              1. Where do you live?

                1. The Vatican.

                  1. Mourning in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.

            2. The really cool kids ate in the library, or at least that’s what I told myself.

        3. Pisses me off that the Chicago people don’t do this sort of thing. And like LA, we need it just for a respite from the derp we swim in.

  2. This Obama guy scares the shit out of me. That is all.

    1. Greg Stillson: Put your hand on the scanning screen, and you’ll go down in history with me!

      Five Star General: As what? The world’s greatest mass murderers?

      Greg Stillson: You cowardly bastard! You’re not the voice of the people, I am the voice of the people! The people speak through me, not you!

      1. Wasn’t there a whole TV series about his presidency? Did he nuke anyone?

        1. He’s the bad guy from The Dead Zone, right?

          1. Yes. Or, in the alternative, he’s Capt. Willard after he enters politics.

        2. I don’t remember; I stopped watching after they had less Kristen Dalton on.

          1. Okay, let’s just agree the series finale was him launching a total first strike.

  3. I saw something jumping out of the water this morning a few minutes after sunrise, and assumed it was dolphins.

    But, nope. Apparently, our resident Great Whites are breech hunting now.

    1. I thought the dolphins kept them away. Is that just more FL propaganda to keep the tourists thinking we’re one giant Disney with a couple of colorfully weird residents kept in preserves*?

      *I was going to say “on reservations”, but that might be racist.

      1. I never did get an explanation last night of the reservations we’re kept on. I even made popcorn to help me focus.

      2. Might?

        There is a GW shark nursery off the coast of Malibu, and the juveniles come down here to feed because they mostly eat rays. They’ve been here for a while and don’t really bother anyone. I’ve had a couple of friends email me footage of the juvenile GWs swimming under their surfboards in El Porto.

        The scary part is that if they are breach hunting, they aren’t eating rays anymore.

        I haven’t seen the dolphins in a couple of months.

      3. We’re getting more dangerous, with pythons and lionfish. There are even occasional great white sightings.

        1. Lionfish? That sounds really serious.

          1. Yes, who invited them to the party?

            I saw one while diving in the Bahamas. Here, they’ve got people volunteering to spear them, as they don’t hit hooked bait much.

            1. The Bahamas are one of the reasons I was looking seriously at moving to FL. The outdoor playground there is way better than anything in SoCal.

              There are some youtube videos of people doing day trips on wave runners from Ft. Lauderdale to Bimini, stopping at various islands and reefs to snorkel. That’s my idea of a good time.

              1. Make sure the weather is nice if you try that. I had a friend who went to Nassau in some bay boat, and she had a religious experience during the trip, due to Mr. Death from the village hanging around, tossing waves and boats.

                1. It is definitely something I’m not used to. The weather here is the same for 2-3 months straight in the summer.

                  I spent a week at Atlantis last year, and it would be nice and still in the morning, with 40 knot breezes in the afternoon. They had to shut down one of the beaches because 8 foot waves were coming over the breakwall.

                  1. We went on a Disney cruise over there a couple of years ago and, among other things, visited Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. Pretty nice.

        2. I thought great whites didn’t like warm water?

    2. They do that off of Watch Hill in Rhode Island. Which is why I never went snorkeling there.

      1. You should go kayaking off the San Juan Islands. I still think they just cover up the killer whales murdering kayakers.

        1. I’m way more scared of Orcas. They’ll torture you if they feel like it.

          1. Actually, I read once that there has never been a verified account of a wild orca attacking a human (Shamu aside). I don’t know if that’s still true or not.

            1. Tell that to Richard Harris

              1. Indeed. I remember seeing that as a kid on HBO. Even though it was a weak ripoff of Jaws, I still loved it.

                “I brought this gun to shoot him. Yes, yes I did. But I knew when it came time to do it, I couldn’t do it. So I got to thinking and I thought, Well if what-if what you say is right. That whales can communicate. Then I thought I’d look at him. Right in the eye. And I’d tell him the killing of his wife and his child was a terrible accident. That I didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean it. I’d tell him that I was sorry. I hope he’d forgive me.”

                1. As I recall, I was afraid of the toilet for about a week after my father told me to make sure an Orca didn’t bite my pecker off.

                  I was eight when I first saw it, wasn’t quite ready for the Bo Derek mutilation.

              2. Yeah, who are you going to believe, Episiarch and Washington propaganda, or King Arthur?

                1. I believe the Man called Horse.

            2. That may be true. I’m just going by what I’ve seen them do to baby seals.

              1. Kayaks probably look like seals in the water.

  4. At the same time, there are conflicting reports about whether Russia has withdrawn any of its 40,000 troops stationed along the Ukrainian border

    If by conflicting reports you mean the Kremlin says it did and every other reputable news source says it didn’t, then sure. There are also “conflicting reports” on whether or not Stalin starved ~3 million Ukrainians to death, whether the Holocaust actually happened, and on whether N Korea is in fact a paradise ruled over by the benevolent Kim Jong Un.

    1. Well, this is the Russian Army we are talking about. Moving around 2 Divisions isn’t easy. Half the vehicles have probably broken down by now, the mechanics are drunk, and most of the enlisted are missing.

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