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Hagel tours warship in Black Sea port, reassures allies

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks during a joint press statement with his Romanian counterpart following the visit of the USS Vella Gulf missile cruiser in Constanta, Romania on June 5, 2014Constanta (Romania) (AFP) – Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel toured a warship stationed at a Romanian Black Sea port Thursday, reaffirming the US commitment to the security of allies worried over Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. “The presence of the USS Vella Gulf is a clear expression of this commitment” to the collective security of NATO allies, Hagel told journalists at the port of Constanta. USS Vella Gulf, a guided missile cruiser, is the fourth warship deployed by the US in the Black Sea since the Ukrainian crisis erupted in March. President Barack Obama on Tuesday unveiled a $1 billion US security plan for eastern Europe aimed at allaying fears over a resurgent Kremlin and the pro-Russian uprising in ex-Soviet Ukraine.

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