On June 28th, the NATO exercise Sea Breeze 2021 began, also including Ukraine.

“In the Black Sea region, NATO is strengthening deterrence and defense with joint exercises and maritime patrols such as the upcoming exercise SEA BREEZE 2021. This is good example to how Allies and Partners provide unique training opportunities, designed to enhance readiness, improve collaboration, and interoperability in the Black Sea region.”

Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 will take part in the exercise, which will begin on Monday, June 28, 2021 and run through July 23.

Ukraine and U.S. are cohosting the exercise in the Black Sea with participation and support coming from 32 countries in total: Albania, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Morocco, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States.

The exercise will focus on multiple warfare areas including amphibious warfare, land maneuver warfare, diving operations, maritime interdiction operations, air defense, special operations integration, anti-submarine warfare, and search and rescue operations.

Growing in popularity over the years, 2021’s iteration will host the largest number of participating nations in the history of the exercise with more than 30 countries from six continents providing 5,000 troops, 32 ships, 40 aircraft, and 18 special operations and dive teams scheduled to participate.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said earlier that the Russian military would closely follow the preparation and conduct of major military exercises in Ukraine with the involvement of Sea Breeze NATO forces.

“The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation will closely monitor the progress of the Ukrainian-American exercise Sea Breeze with the involvement of NATO countries and, if necessary, respond adequately to the evolving situation in the interests of ensuring the military security of the Russian Federation,” Konashenkov said.

According to the US 6th Operational Fleet, the exercises will practice combat operations at sea, on land and in the air, including landing, anti-submarine and anti-aircraft warfare.

On June 26, the American missile destroyer USS Ross entered the Black Sea. It can carry up to 56 Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of 1,600 km.

“The participation of USS Ross in the Sea Breeze naval exercise this year is a real demonstration of US support for Ukraine, which is needed today more than ever,” said US Charge d’Affaires in Ukraine Christina Queen.

The British destroyer HMS Defender and the Dutch frigate Evertsen are also in the Black Sea since June 14.

On June 23rd, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that the Russian military and border guards opened warning fire at the course of the destroyer HMS Defender, which violated the Russian border in the Black Sea near Cape Fiolent in Crimea.