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US Warship Calls at Ukrainian Port Amid Protests

RIA Novosti

14:17 26/01/2012

SEVASTOPOL, January 26 (RIA Novosti) - A U.S. guided missile cruiser stopped at the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Sevastopol on Thursday with a group of some 50 protesters chanting “Yankee, go home!” and “No to NATO!”

The USS Vella Gulf (CG 72), a Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser, is on a mission in the Black Sea and is to visit the ports of Constanta, Sevastopol and Odessa.

It carries 26 Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of up to 3,000 kilometers and has elements of a missile defense system on board.

The protesters also burned a U.S. flag featuring Nazi swastika instead of stars.

Yevhen Dubovik, a protest organizer, said the visit was illegal because it had not been authorized by Ukraine’s parliament.

“Nevertheless, a warship has called here that has offensive weapons on board and it is not ruled out that if it receives orders it will deliver a strike on Iran in close proximity to our coast,” he said.

“Thus Ukraine, a state not affiliated with any military blocs, may automatically become involved in an international conflict.”

The USS Vella Gulf is to remain in Sevastopol until January 31. A number of joint tactical exercises with Ukrainian naval units have been planned.

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