Posted: Fri January 31, 2014 4:41PM; Updated: Fri January 31, 2014 4:41PM

U.S. warships head to Black Sea in advance of Sochi Olympics

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USS Mount Whitney is one of the warships that will be stationed near the Sochi Olympics.
USS Mount Whitney is one of the warships that will be stationed near the Sochi Olympics.
Seiron Baroian/AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. officials say the first of two American warships heading into the Black Sea in advance of the Olympic Games has set sail from Italy.

The USS Mount Whitney got underway Friday from Gaeta, Italy, and the Navy frigate USS Taylor is expected to leave from Naples, Italy, on Saturday.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly disclose ship movements.

Russian and U.S. defense officials, including Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel, have discussed the Olympic security threat, and the U.S. has offered to help in any way needed. No specific assistance has been requested.

The Pentagon has said the ships are deploying to the Black Sea as part of normal military planning and could perform any required missions, including communications or evacuations.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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