MOSCOW, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Another U.S. warship is to enter the Black Sea amid rising tension in Ukraine, an allegedly well-informed Russian military diplomatic source said Wednesday.
"The NATO continues groundlessly sustaining tension in the Black Sea, while security there has been an exclusive prerogative of the Black Sea littoral countries, which cooperate(d) closely for a long time," the Itar-Tass news agency quoted the unnamed source as saying.
According to the source, the Ticonderoga-class Vella Gulf missile cruiser is to enter the Black Sea on May 9, the same day Russia celebrates the 69th anniversary of Victory Day marking the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
It will be the third vessel in the area, joining the U.S. frigate Taylor and French reconnaissance ship Dupuy de Lome, which have been in the area since mid-April. One more U.S. warship, destroyer Donald Cook, has left the area on April 25.
The Vella Gulf's home port is Norfolk in the U.S. state of Virginia. It visited the Ukrainian naval base in Sevastopol in January, six weeks before the city along with Republic of Crimea voted to join Russia, according to the U.S. Stars and Stripes military portal.
The increased NATO naval presence in the Black Sea recently amid the rising tensions in the area has unnerved Moscow, with Russia accusing the United States of violating the Montreux Convention, which restricts the number of vessels from non-Black Sea countries operating in the area and sets a time limit of 21 days for each stay.
On Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow plans to allocate more than 86 billion rubles (2.4 billion U.S. dollars) to strengthen its Black Sea fleet by 2020.
The Aegis guided Ticonderoga class cruisers are armed with cruise missiles Tomahawk, anti-ship missiles ASROC, and air defense guided missiles Standard-2 and Standard-3. The cruisers are 172 meters long, 16 meters wide and have a full water displacement of 9,800 tonnes.