World Bulletin/News Desk
A joint exercise involving U.S., Bulgarian and Romanian naval forces in the Black Sea started on Wednesday just across the water from the Crimean Peninsula, where Russian military groups have seized control from Ukrainian authorities.
But they send a message of resolve to NATO members nervous about Russia's intentions in its former Cold War backyard, along with reconnaissance flights over Poland and Romania near the Ukrainian border and U.S.-Polish wargames.
The USS Truxtun, a U.S. guided-missile destroyer and part of the U.S. Sixth Fleet headquartered in Italy, joined the manoeuvres with the Bulgarian naval frigate Drazki and three Romanian vessels in the Black Sea.
"This time the exercise has begun as planned," Bulgarian Lieutenant-Colonel Dimitar Titev said.
It was not expected to involve any live-firing.