Sea Breeze exercise meant to strengthen security in Black Sea Region – Yatseniuk
The Sea Breeze 2015 multinational naval exercise involving the United States and Ukrainian naval vessels will strengthen security in Black Sea Region, especially after Russia's annexation of Crimea, Ukrainian Premier Arseniy Yatseniuk has said.
"After Crimea was annexed, the Black Sea region is no longer stable and secure," Yatseniuk said during the official opening ceremony of the exercises in Odesa on Tuesday.
He stressed that the Ukrainian military must now find a common language with its partners from other states and must also adhere to NATO standards.
Yatseniuk said that due to trust funds set up by NATO, the Ukrainian Armed Forces set up new logistics, reconnaissance and training systems which help the country regain Crimea sooner or later.
"The Ukrainian Navy will return to Crimea," he said.
U.S. Ambassador in Kyiv Geoffrey Pyatt shared Yatseniuk's opinion regarding the prospects of the exercises, and underlined their strategic importance for the Black Sea Region.
He said that strategic significance of the Black Sea Region increased after Russia's invasion of Crimea, the subsequent annexation of the peninsula, and other events which developed as a result.
Pyatt also stressed that the U.S. adheres to the principles of maintaining the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine.
Yatseniuk, for his part, thanked the American people for their support of Ukraine as it struggles for its independence.
The Sea Breeze 2015 exercise, which is taking place near Odesa, involves eleven nations: Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Moldova, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the U.S. and the United Kingdom. The maneuvers are expected to focus on practicing shore-isolation, anti-submarine, air defense, asymmetric warfare, and sea rescue operations.
The exercises are also to take place in Mykolaiv region, and in northwestern part of the Black Sea.
The Sea Breeze exercise is due to end on September 12, and this yes is the 14th time the exercise has been held.
Up to 2,500 servicemen are to take part in the exercises: nearly 1,000 military personnel, nine ships, eight helicopters and aircraft, and up to 50 wheeled vehicles from Ukraine; from U.S. – up to 1,000 military personnel, five ships, two submarines, and nearly 40 wheeled machines. Approximately 500 military personnel of NATO member states and Partnership for Peace countries will also be involved in the exercises.