U.S., Romanian and Bulgarian naval forces have begun conducting military exercises in the Black Sea near the Crimean Peninsula amid regional tension as Russia attempts to gain control of the area. According to Reuters, the start of the exercises was delayed by one day due to unfavorable weather conditions.
The USS Truxton, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer which is part of the U.S. Sixth Fleet headquartered in Italy, joined Bulgarian naval frigate Drazki and three Romanian vessels in the Black Sea.
“We are certainly excited to participate in every joint exercise we are afforded,” Cmdr. Andrew Biehn, Truxtun’s commanding officer, said in a press release. “We train for months at home and every opportunity we get to hone these skills with our allies is incredibly valuable.”
As Reuters points out, the joint exercises are designed to send a message of solidarity to NATO members who are wary of Russia’s actions in the Crimea. NATO has dispatched reconnaissance flights over Poland and Romania near the Ukrainian border, and Poland has started conducting war games with the United States.