The official closing ceremony of the international military exercise Sea Breeze 2021, the largest in the history of Ukraine’s independence, took place in Odesa.
Rear Admiral Oleksiy Neizhpapa, Commander of the Ukrainian Navy, declared the maneuvers closed and reported on the implementation of the assigned tasks in full.
“Exercise Sea Breeze 2021 has come to an end. This is another small victory, which gives us the opportunity to be together at sea, in the air, and on land. Today, we have a strength that lies in unity, common views, and values that protect our peoples. We thank our colleagues from the U.S. 6th Fleet and other partners for supporting and co-organising this exercise,” the Commander said.
He also said that during the maneuvers, ships traveled more than 12,000 miles, divers went under water more than 330 times, pilots spent more than 80 hours in the air, and the military of the participating countries jointly practiced activities on land in three regions of Ukraine. This once again demonstrated Ukraine’s ability to fulfill common tasks according to NATO standards.
Neizhpapa also noted that the Black Sea unites nations and countries, and stressed that “the sea is NOT a fence,” and “the one who does not understand this is our enemy.” The Rear Admiral thanked all the participants, adding that the strength lies in unity.
Earlier, the head of Sea Breeze 2021 from the American side, U.S. Navy Captain Stewart Bowman, said that the level of cooperation and integration of Sea Breeze 2021 participants was the highest.
As a reminder, Sea Breeze is a multinational military exercise that has been held in Ukraine since 1997 in accordance with the Memorandum of Interaction and Cooperation in Defence and Military Relations between the U.S. Department of Defence and the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine.
This year’s iteration involves the largest number of participating nations in the exercise’s history, including 32 countries from six continents, 5,000 troops, 32 ships, 40 aircraft, and 18 special operation and dive teams.
A total of 32 countries took part in Sea Breeze 2021, including Australia, Bulgaria, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Greece, Israel, Canada, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania, Turkey, South Korea, and Japan.
Prior to the maneuvers, Russia called on the United States and its allies to refrain from participating. During the exercises, the Russian Federation constantly checked its troops on the territory of the occupied Crimea, and also arranged provocations in the Black Sea.