By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Richard Hoffner
The 21st iteration of the U.S. and Ukrainian co-hosted Exercise Sea Breeze was visited by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a Distinguished Visitor (DV) day in Odesa, Ukraine on July 4, 2021.
The other distinguished visitors included Adm. Oleksiy Neizhpapa, commander, Ukrainian Navy, Ms. Kristina Kvien, U.S. Chargé d’Affairs, and Vice Adm. Gene Black, commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet.
“Today we are celebrating three important dates Ukrainian Navy Day, American Independence Day, and the Sea Breeze Naval exercise, a hallmark of Ukraine’s growing maritime security relationship with the United States and the 32 other countries participating,” said Chargé d’Affaires, Kristina Kvien.
Up to 30 nations from six continents are participating in the exercise, helping to ensure peace and stability in the Black Sea Region.
Sea Breeze is designed to enhance interoperability among participating nations and strengthen regional security by focusing on a variety of security and stability scenarios in the areas of land, air, and sea. Over 5,000 troops, 40 aircraft, 30 ships and 18 Special Operation and Dive units are participating in the exercise.
U.S. participation includes the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71), a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, U.S. Marines from 2D Marine Division and 2ND Marine Logistics Group, Navy Underwater Construction Team UCT-1B, and members of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and U.S. Sixth Fleet staff.
Exercise Sea Breeze 2021 is an annual multinational maritime exercise, involving sea, land, and air components, and is co-hosted by the United States and Ukraine to enhance interoperability and capability among participating forces in the Black Sea region.
U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Africa/U.S. SIXTH Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with joint, allied, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.