The multinational naval exercise Sea breeze 2020 has been launched in the Ukrainian waters of the Black Sea.
Commander of the Ukrainian Navy Alexey Neizhpapa and commander of the US Sixth fleet Vice Admiral Gene Black announced the beginning of the maneuvers in a video message.
Black noted that the Sea breeze exercise is being conducted to improve regional security in the Black Sea. He said that military personnel from nine countries, 27 ships, and 19 aircraft are taking part in the maneuvers.
Joint exercises of the Ukrainian and American military are held for the 20th year. In addition to Ukraine and the United States, this year, they are attended by ships, planes, and helicopters of NATO member countries Bulgaria, Norway, Romania, Spain, France, Italy, and Turkey, as well as Georgia, which is not a member of NATO.
This year’s exercise will include sea-based interception operations, anti-aircraft, and anti-submarine defense elements, ship survivability, and search and rescue operations, according to a statement released by the US Sixth fleet on Monday.
The USS Porter, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, entered the Black Sea the day before to participate in exercises.
The exercise will also involve a US Navy P-8 aircraft from patrol squadron VP (47).
The maneuvers are expected to last until July 26.
The Ministry of defense of Ukraine previously reported that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s exercises would be limited to the marine phase with the involvement of aviation.
The ships of the countries-partners will come into the Ukrainian ports only for refueling.
“The main goal is to conduct an international naval operation to ensure security in the crisis area,” rear Admiral Neijpapa said during a telephone briefing. – The black sea has long ceased to be stable. Such exercises as” Sea breeze” are a confirmation that the United States and its NATO partners support peace and stability in the black sea region.”
“The sea is not an obstacle, but an opportunity for communication, so the task of all fleets is to make sea communications easier and safer,” Neijpapa said. – Not all countries understand these principles. This is especially true for the Russian Federation.”