Black Sea drills: U.S., 31 partners back Ukraine “on the front lines of Russian aggression”
The two-week, multinational Sea Breeze war games concluded on July 10. This year’s iteration included a record number of participating nations, 32, including for the first time military partners outside of Europe and North America. Military personnel and equipment from countries on all six inhabited continents were involved. What those 32 nations were practicing for will be disclosed below.
New participants included:
Africa: Egypt, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia
Asia-Pacific: Australia, Japan, Pakistan and South Korea
Middle East: Israel and the United Arab Emirates
South America: Brazil
U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa reported that warships from eight countries conducted joint exercises in the sea where every littoral state but Russia is a NATO member or an Enhanced Opportunities Partner.
The USS Ross guided-missile/interceptor-missile destroyer left the port of Odessa with other ships from the U.S. and from Britain, Bulgaria, Georgia, Italy, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine. Among the latter nations only Britain and Italy are not Black Sea states. For reasons unclear to some Russia cherishes Turkey as a strategic partner.
The eight-nation naval maneuvers worked on “force integration and combat enhancement” from June 30 to July 2. That part of this year’s Sea Breeze was designed to solidify NATO interoperability “throughout the exercise and in future operations,” U.S. Navy emphasized.
What future joint missions the NATO members and partners were training for was revealed candidly – in a way a month of news reports has carefully avoided divulging – by the U.S. defense attaché at the embassy in Kiev, Colonel Brittany Stewart, when she acknowledged:
“Exercise Sea Breeze is a tangible example of how the United States stands beside Ukraine on the front lines of Russian aggression.” There, now we know – if anyone ever doubted it before.
And if anyone was either unaware of or skeptical about why the U.S. has expanded NATO from 16 members and no partners in 1991 to 30 members and 40 members 30 years later (with nations like Brazil and Senegal evidently to soon join the ranks), she clarified that issue as well:
“This exercise demonstrates Ukraine’s growing maritime security relationship with the United States and the 32 other participating Allies and partners.”
That global network supporting the Western client regime in Ukraine can only mean – as Colonel Stewart was obliging enough not to deny – confronting Russia.
Another American military officer confirmed that fact with the statement that “After 21 years of Sea Breeze, and with more than 30 nations participating this year, maintaining stability there is truly an international issue.” Confronting Russia with an international military coalition, that is.
This year the war games, again according to U.S. Navy, enhanced a “maritime security relationship” with Ukraine (ah, for Stewart’s candor here) 31 ships having “conducted 175 serials and training events throughout the Black Sea [including] Air, Surface, and Subsurface warfare drills to build upon interoperability in the Black Sea region.”
If the last quote doesn’t mean preparing for war with Russia in the Black Sea it doesn’t mean anything at all.