July 1 (UPI) -- The USS Carney, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, is participating in the 12-day Sea Breeze 2019, hosted by Ukraine, starting Monday.
The destroyer began its northbound transit from the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea on Saturday to participate in the exercise, which is designed to enhance regional maritime stability, the U.S. Navy said.
The Carney is the fifth ship to have visited the Black Sea, including the USS Ross last in April.
While in the Black Sea, USS Ross participated in three interoperability exercises with the Bulgarian Navy and Georgian Coast Guard. The exercises entailed maritime interdiction, tactical communications, formation maneuvering and underway replenishments.
"Carney's transit to the Black Sea and support to Sea Breeze reaffirms the U.S. Navy's commitment to this vital region and our valued partners," Vice Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, commander of U.S. 6th Fleet said. "In this dynamic security environment, our naval forces throughout Europe remain steadfast and continue to operate routinely with our allies and partners in the Black Sea as we work to ensure regional stability and prosperity."
The Carney is among 32 ships as well as 24 aircraft participating in Sea Breeze, which is in its 19th iteration. Around 3,000 troops from 19 nations will participate: Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States.
Sea Breeze's intent is to "build combined capability and capacity to ensure maritime regional security and foster stronger friendships among partnering nations," the Navy said in a statement.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said the international exercises likely will take place in the northwestern part of the Black Sea, in Mykolaiv, Kherson and Odessa regions.
The exercise will include something new this year: a simulation of hostile forces blocking the Danube River, which will involve the Ukrainian Border Guard Service to escort civilian vessels from the Danube to the Black Sea.
The border guard services of Ukraine, Georgia and Romania will also patrol the river.
The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with international law and with the Montreux Convention signed in 1936. Black Sea nations can only send warships with displacement of less than 15,000 tons into the Black Sea and these ships can only stay for 21 days.
Russia, which has considered the ships' presence a threat, tracks their movements from the sea and air.
The Carney was among ships from nine nations, led by the U.S. 6th Fleet, participating in May's Formidable Shield, a live-fire integrated air and missile defense exercise in Scotland.
Early last month, the Navy announced the Carney as well as the USS Donald Cook, USS Ross and USS Porter will cycle out of Naval Station Rota in Spain starting in 2020 and ending in spring 2022. The U.S. Navy didn't name specific ships to move in Spain but said they will be "newer, modernized ships."
The four Arleigh Burke-class ships now homeported in Spain were commissioned in 1996 or 1997.