NATO-Ukraine Black Sea naval exercise in show of unity

NATO and Ukraine conclude military exercise in the Black Sea, showcasing their defense connectivity and operational capabilities.

NATO and Ukraine concluded the Sea Breeze 2021 military exercise in the Black Sea on Saturday (July 10). The two sides used about 30 ships and 40 aircraft in the two-week naval exercise.

Lt. Cmdr. John D. John, commander of the guided-missile destroyer USS Ross, who participated in the exercise, told an Associated Press reporter accompanying the ship that the exercise was designed to improve the capabilities of the participating nations’ equipment and personnel to work together.

“We want to show anyone with the international community that no one country can claim sovereignty over the Black Sea or any of the international waters,” John said, “These waters belong to the international community and we are determined to make sure that all countries have access to international shipping lanes.”

The Russian Defense Ministry said it is closely monitoring the Sea Breeze-2021 exercise. The Russian military has also held a series of simultaneous exercises in the Black Sea and southwest Russia, sending military aircraft to practice bombing and deploying long-range air defense missiles to protect coastal areas.