The Sea Breeze 2019 NATO military exercise began on July 1st and will run for two weeks in the Black Sea.
The exercise includes approximately 3,000 troops from 19 countries.
It also involves 32 warships and 24 aircraft.
The participating countries are as following: Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, along with the United States.
The exercise will be a “free play” style exercise, coordinated by the multinational training headquarters.
The development of the river element will be an innovation of the current exercises. According to the legend, hostile elements will try to block access to the sea from the largest waterway of Europe, the Danube River. Coast Guard vessels will be tasked with escorting civilian transport vessels along the river, ensuring their free passage through the mouth of the Danube to the Black Sea. This training element will exclusively involve the forces of Ukraine’s State Border Service, in particular, its Coast Guard unit.
Naval special forces assault training will be held. They will include parachute-free landing from a helicopter into the water, landing from a helicopter on a ship and island landings using special release devices. Artillery firing is planned in the naval component.
Two US warships entered the Black Sea to take part in the trials recently.
The Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport USNS Yuma and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney.
“Carney’s transit to the Black Sea and support to Sea Breeze reaffirms the U.S. Navy’s commitment to this vital region and our valued partners,” said Vice Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, commander of U.S. 6th Fleet. “In this dynamic security environment, our naval forces throughout Europe remain steadfast and continue to operate routinely with our allies and partners in the Black Sea as we work to ensure regional stability and prosperity.”
The Russian Navy is observing the drills and the movements of the US warships.
“The Black Sea Fleet’s Smetlivy guard ship has started monitoring the U.S. warship’s steps. Besides, during the entire stay of the USS Carney destroyer in the Black Sea’s responsibility zone it will be monitored with the use of digital and technical means of the fleet,” Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement, TASS reported.
In line with the provisions of the Montreux international convention, the US destroyer’s stay in the Black Sea must not exceed 21 days, the ministry said.
National Defense Management Center of Russia said that the Russian Black Sea fleet monitors the actions of NATO ships during the exercises “to respond to possible emergencies,” RIA Novosti reported.
The Russian military deployed Bal and Bastion coastal missile systems during its exercises in the Crimea and the Caucasus coast, reports Interfax.
“The personnel of the Bastion and Bal systems conducts drills on applying conditional missile strikes on sea targets in the designated areas when deploying from the march,” reads the message of the Russian fleet.
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