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NATO-Ukraine Exercise ‘Sea Breeze’ Underway

Aug. 31, 2015 (EIRNS)—All of the Russian media is reporting, today, the opening of NATO’s "Sea Breeze" naval exercise in Ukraine.

The exercise area includes Odessa and Nikolaev and the northwestern corner of the Black Sea. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry press service reported that the exercise, running through Sept. 12, is aimed at "drilling a multinational security operation in a crisis region."

The maneuvers, the ministry statement continues, "are to enhance confidence and security in the region, improve interoperability between the naval force of Ukraine and NATO and partner countries," the ministry said. The exercise involves 2,500 troops, two dozen warships and about 20 aircraft from all of the participating nations—Ukraine, the United States, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Moldova, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

The U.S.S. Donald Cook, the Aegis anti-missile destroyer, the deployment of which Russia has identified as a "casus belli," is among the U.S. ships participating.

Sea Breeze, an annual exercise dating back to at least 1997, is this year running concurrently with NATO’s airborne exercise Swift Response, which ends on Sept. 13.