Aug. 9 (UPI) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter traveled to the Black Sea this week, the sixth U.S. Navy ship to operate in the region this year.
The ship, one of four U.S. destroyers based at Naval Station Rota, Spain, moved across Turkey's Bosphorus Strait and into the Black Sea on Thursday.
The Porter is the first U.S. vessel to operate in the Black Sea since the USNS Yuma, participating in joint U.S.- Ukraine Sea Breeze 2019 exercise, departed the area in July. The destroyer USS Carney also sailed into the Black Sea during the exercises and left the area in July.
The 12-day exercise involved 32 ships, 24 aircraft and approximately 3,000 troops from 19 nations.
In a statement Thursday, the Navy did not identify a mission in the Porter's deployment to the Black Sea.
"The naval operations we conduct in the Black Sea with our allies and partners maintain the strong relationships that are necessary for regional stability," Vice Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, commander of U.S. 6th Fleet, said Thursday in a statement. "The inherent flexibility of our forward-deployed naval force DDGs enables our ability to provide a credible defense and ensure we are postured appropriately to support our global operations."
The Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea, consistent with international law, the statement added.
The four destroyers in Rota are part of the ballistic missile defense system that pairs the destroyers with Aegis Ashore stations in Poland and Romania. The Navy increased its presence in the Mediterranean and Black Seas after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.