The 17th edition of the international Sea Breeze military exercises co-hosted by the United States and Ukraine start on Monday in the Black Sea.
This year’s drills will be held until July 22. The 17 countries participating in the exercise are Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States.
More than 30 ships, hovercraft and support vessels, over 25 aircraft and more than 3,000 servicemen will be participating in the drills which involve involve air, land, sea, and amphibious forces. The exercises will take place in the Odesa and Mykolaiv regions and the northwestern parts of the Black Sea.
The Sea Breeze exercises are annually recurring multinational drills that involves maritime interdiction, air defense, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), damage control tactics, search and rescue (SAR), and amphibious warfare operations. Sea Breeze is conducted to enhance flexibility and interoperability, strengthen combined response capabilities, and demonstrate resolve among allied and partner nation forces to ensure stability in the Black Sea region.
Participating U.S. Navy units will include the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG 66) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64).
Three Turkish ships, including a submarine, and a Romanian corvette arrived at the Odesa port in southern Ukraine to participate in the exercises, according to reports. Two NATO aircraft landed at the Odesa airport. The C-130J Hercules of the United States brought a dozen divers, while Hungary’s C-17A Globemaster III delivered several dozens of other servicemen and equipment for exercises.