With the rhetorical indications coming first out of the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign, and now out of the Trump White House, one could be forgiven for thinking that the U.S. military might be pulling back its forces from the Russian “sphere of influence” in order to facilitate an improvement of ties between the two countries.

That thinking appears to be wrong.  At least for now.

According to Navy Times reporting, the U.S. Navy, as well as U.S. ground forces, are maintaining a robust presence in the Russians’ backyard, and continuing on with planned NATO exercises aimed, in part, at repelling a notional Russian advance into western Europe.

Per a separate Navy Times article, an annual joint NATO maritime exercise — Sea Shield 2017 — hosted by the Romanian navy is currently underway in the Black Sea, in which the destroyer USS Porter (pictured) and a P-8A Poseidon sub-hunter aircraft are participating.  The U.S. surface combatant is forward deployed to Rota, Spain, and entered the Black Sea on February 2, according to the Navy Times report.

Other countries involved in the joint exercise include Bulgaria, Canada, Greece, Spain, Turkey, and of no doubt particular annoyance to Russia, Ukraine. Ukraine is not a member of NATO, though was invited to join the exercise.

Per the Navy Times, the U.S. Navy has been “routinely” sending its ships in and out of the Black Sea ever since the Russian military annexed Crimea in 2014 from the Ukraine.  At that time, the then-Obama administration led the effort to impose sanctions on Russia over its actions, which contributed to the bottoming out of relations between the two countries.

The Russians have responded by buzzing at least two U.S. warships — the USS Donald Cook in 2014 and the USS Ross in 2015 — in the Black Sea, which the Russians see as an integral part of their strategic zone of influence.  The Russian navy maintains a “Black Sea Fleet” off Crimea, which was revamped in 2016, per Newsweek reporting.

In addition to the Black Sea, the Russians also see the Baltic Sea as part of their backyard, and the U.S. Navy has been operating there, as well, per Newsweek and the Navy Times.  Earlier this month, the USS Hue City made a port call in Lithuania, which lies 100 miles north of the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.  The Russian military had recently “revitalized” its military presence in the enclave, per Navy Times reporting.