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NATO drills opening off Ukraine's Black Sea coast

August 31, 2015, 10:36 UTC+3 KIEV
The current Sea Breeze 2015 exercise will be the largest in its history
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USS Ross

USS Ross


KIEV, August 31. /TASS/. The multinational naval manoeuvres Sea Breeze 2015 are beginning on Monday in the Odessa and Nikolayev regions of Ukraine and in the north-western part of the Black Sea.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry press service reported that the exercise that will continue until September 12 is aimed at "drilling a multinational security operation in a crisis region."

"The maneuvers are to enhance confidence and security in the region, improve interoperability between the naval force of Ukraine and NATO and partner countries," the ministry said.

The current Sea Breeze 2015 exercise will be the largest in its history. The drills will involve up to 2,500 military from various countries. The Ukrainian army’s participating force will comprise 1,000 troops, 9 ships, 8 planes and helicopters, up to 50 wheeled vehicles and about 10 patrol boats from the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service.

The US forces will be represented by up to 1,000 troops with weapons and military equipment, 5 warships, 2 submarines, 6 planes and helicopters and 40 wheeled vehicles.

In addition, other NATO member states and countries participants in the Partnership for Peace Program will send to the manoeuvres up to 500 troops with weapons and military equipment, 6 ships, 3 submarines, 6 planes and helicopters and 10 wheeled vehicles.

"The drills will be conducted in the Black Sea area and ranges of the Ukrainian armed forces, as well as the military airfields Shkolny (Odessa), Kulbakino (Nikolayev), Chernobayevka (Kherson), landing areas of the Tendrovskaya spit (Ochakov) and the Pervomaisky Island, Odessa international airport, Odessa commercial seaport, Yuzhny commercial seaport and the military port of Ochakov (Nikolayev region," the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said.

The US Naval Forces Europe-Africa, US 6th Fleet Command reported that "Maritime forces from 11 maritime nations will begin the US-Ukraine co-hosted multinational maritime exercise Sea Breeze 2015 in Odessa, Ukraine, and the Black Sea, Aug. 31. Sea Breeze, now in its 14th iteration, is an annual exercise held in the Black Sea which seeks to enhance interoperability and strengthen regional security."

"This exercise represents an important opportunity to work with our partners and conduct meaningful training in the land, air, and maritime domains. I am confident that this exercise will also lead to valuable personal exchanges between our Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines, leading to stronger bonds and unity in this region," said Vice Admiral James Foggo III, Commander of the US 6th Fleet.

According to NATO sources, participating nations include Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Moldova, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The at-sea phase will focus on maritime interdiction operations as a primary means to enhance maritime security.

Specific skill sets tested in the at-sea phase will include maritime interdiction operations, anti-submarine warfare, and self-defense against small boat attacks. Other warfare areas to be tested include air defense, damage control, search and rescue, and other tactical maneuvers.

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