Preparing Ukraine’s Navy for The Future

2017/9/4 12:15:31

This year, Sea Breeze was very big indeed: Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States all took part.

 


By Nick Holmov for the Odessa Review, Sep 3, 2017

 

On July 10, military forces from 16 countries gathered for a ceremony in Odessa to kick off Sea Breeze 2017. The annual military exercise has existed for 20 years, but this was hardly a half-hearted repeat of a two-decade old tradition. Russia’s continued war against Ukraine in the occupied Donbas region and its militarization of the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014, have made Sea Breeze an increasingly difficult exercise. But those actions have also helped attract more international participants. This increasingly robust and complex training may be critical to helping Ukraine shore up its national defense. But it also should prompt the country to ponder the purpose of a defense partnership with NATO and the broader aims of its defense policy.

 

Bigger and better

 

This year, Sea Breeze was very big indeed: Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States all took part.

 

They brought with them a total of 31 ships, 29 aircraft, and more than 3,000 service personnel, spanning a variety of warfare arenas: maritime interdiction operations, air defense, anti-submarine warfare, damage-control tactics, search and rescue, and amphibious warfare with air and land elements, to name a few.

 

This year the area of operations stretched all the way from the Black Sea and Ukrainian territorial waters up to the country’s airspace and its Odessa, Kherson, and Mykolaiv regions.

 

“The key thing about this exercise is that, over the last renditions of it, it’s becoming far more complex — it now includes a very robust sea, air and land component,” said Navy Captain Matthew Lehman, deputy commander of the US 6th Fleet’s Task Force 65 and the officer in tactical control of Sea Breeze.

 

In fact, the only country whose presence noticeably declined this year was that of Russia. The Russian “Liman” intelligence ship sank off the coast of Istanbul in April as a result of a maritime accident. As a result, Moscow’s reconnaissance ship CER-201 “Priazovye” had to carry out the country’s annual surveillance of Sea Breeze from a few miles away.

 

[…]

http://odessareview.com/preparing-ukraines-navy-future/

 

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