US and Ukraine Start Black Sea Drills Amid Tensions with Russia

Ukraine and the United States have started conducting multinational naval maneuvers in the Black Sea, known as Sea Breeze.

The Sea Breeze exercise will involve more than 30 countries and would involve about 5000 troops, 30 warships, and 40 aircraft from the US, NATO, and Ukraine.

The United Kingdom, France, Turkey, Israel, Morocco, Japan, South Korea, and Australia would also be participating in Sea Breeze.

US Navy Capt. Kyle Gantt said that the numerous participants in the exercise reflected a shared commitment to ensure free access to international waters.

The US destroyer Ross has already arrived at the Ukrainian port of Odessa while other ships are still making their way to the Black Sea.

Russia’s embassy in Washington has already protested the exercises last week while the Russian defense ministry said it would react if necessary to protect its sovereignty.

The Sea Breeze drills followed a rise in tensions between NATO and Moscow last week after the Russian Black Sea fleet had fired warning shots and dropped bombs in the path of the UK’s HMS Defender or allegedly crossing the maritime border.

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