The US and 18 other countries have commenced multinational maritime exercise Sea Breeze 2019 in the Black Sea to enhance interoperability and strengthen regional maritime security.

Exercise Sea Breeze is co-hosted by the US and Ukraine and involves multiple security and stability scenarios in the areas of land, sea and air.

Alongside these two countries, the participating nations were Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Turkey and the UK.

US exercise director and Task Force 65 commodore captain Matthew Lehman said: “Exercises like this show the world that the US stands with our Nato allies and partners here in Europe. The goal is quite simple: to train and work together, side by side, and to ensure a Europe that is whole, free, prosperous, and at peace.”

During the exercise, the countries will perform maritime interdiction operations, air defence, special forces training, anti-submarine warfare, damage control tactics.

Sea Breeze will also include search and rescue, amphibious warfare, and a non-commissioned officer leadership course to include training in operational planning.

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This is the 19th edition of the exercise. Around 3,000 troops from 19 nations including 32 ships and 24 aircraft will participate in Sea Breeze.

The US assets taking part in the exercise include the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64), the expeditionary fast-transport ship USNS Yuma (T-EPF 8) and a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.

US Marines from Marine Rotational Force-Europe, Navy Underwater Construction Team UCT-1B, and members of the US Naval Forces Europe-Africa and US 6th Fleet staff will also take part in the exercise.

Ukraine exercise director rear admiral Alexey Neizhpapa said: “If you look around, you will see Ukrainian, Georgian, Turkish, Moldovan, Romanian, and Bulgarian sailors who represent almost every Black Sea nation.

“That is a lot of friends to have in one place, especially in the Black Sea where maritime security, the rule of law, and the international order are critical to economic prosperity and regional peace.”