A French frigate has entered the Black Sea, growing the number of NATO surface warships in the region to three, according to a U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) news report citing a ship spotting blog and Russian press reports.
Surcouf (F711), a La Fayette-class frigate was spotted by amateur photographers crossing the Bosporus strait on Wednesday joining French signals intelligence ship Dupuy de Lôme (A759) and U.S. guided missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG-72) – both which entered the region earlier this month.
In reaction to the increased NATO naval presence in the region, Russian officials said they would begin to fly more air patrols over the Black Sea.
According to USNI U.S. and NATO ships have had a rotational presence in the Black Sea since the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Ships have remained in the region as part of an ongoing presence and reassurance mission for Western allies.
All warships from countries without a coast on the Black Sea operate under the so-called 1936 Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits, which call for foreign warships to depart after 21 days.