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Ukraine and U.S. navies gather for Black Sea manouevres

September 08, 2014, 17:13 UTC+3 KIEV

Maneuvers will drill missions to monitor civilian ships navigating in certain zones

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U.S. Navy frigate Ross

U.S. Navy frigate Ross

© Archive AP Photo/Ingalls Shipbuilding

KIEV, September 08. /ITAR-TASS/. Naval exercises began in northwestern waters of the Black Sea on Monday, assembling warships of Ukraine and the United States.

Operation Sea Breeze will drill international cooperation to establish and ensure safe navigation in a crisis-ridden area, said the press service of Ukraine's Defense Ministry. This reflected a program for bilateral co-operation between Ukraine and the U.S. Department of Defense under a plan approved by Ukrainian presidential decree on March 25, an official added.

Maneuvers will drill missions to monitor civilian ships navigating in certain zones. Exercises will simulate searching for rule-breaking ships, conducting inspection operations and helping a ship in distress.

Exercises are being held under the NATO Partnership for Peace program, allowing several countries to take part, the defense ministry official said.

Five ships and support vessels and two border patrol boats will make up the Ukrainian side alongside maritime aviation and helicopters. Georgia, Norway, Sweden and France have sent observers.

Two NATO warships the Canadian frigate Toronto and the Spanish frigate Almirante Juan de Borbon have also entered the Black Sea since the September 3 arrival of the U.S. Navy frigate Ross and the French corvette Commandant Birot. Calls at Ukrainian ports are not expected.

Ukrainian-U.S. military exercises codenamed Rapid Trident begin at the Yavor range in western Ukraine's Lvov region on September 15.

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