Black Sea: US, Ukraine To Lead Naval Exercise With 32 Nations From Six Continents
Rick Rozoff / AntiWar.com
(June 22, 2021) — The annual US-led multinational naval exercise in the Black Sea, Sea Breeze, will begin on June 28 and continue until July 10. As with previous iterations this year’s exercise will be co-hosted by the US and Ukraine.
Though as the name indicates primarily a series of maritime drills, Sea Breeze also includes air and land components.
Currently there are three warships from NATO nations in the Black Sea: the US interceptor missile/guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon, the British destroyer HMS Defender and Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen. The first is part of the carrier strike group attached to the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier and the latter two to the new HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier.
As the massive Defender Europe 21 war games wrapped up this week, several components of which were held in the Black Sea, the public relations bureau of US Naval Forces Europe-Africa and US Sixth Fleet announced that this year’s Sea Breeze will include military personnel, ships, planes and equipment from the most nations ever: 32. From six continents. Participating countries are: Albania, Australia, Brazil, Britain, 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, the United Arab Emirates and the US All are NATO members or partners except for Brazil and Senegal, but Brazil has been contributing to war games held by the US in Africa and Europe lately and may well soon join its neighbor Colombia as a NATO partner; and Senegal, which is also now participating in the US/NATO African Lion military exercise, may join fellow African NATO partners Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.
US Navy graphic
The war games will include 5,000 troops, 32 ships, 40 aircraft and 18 special operations and diving teams.
The American chargé d’affaires to Ukraine, Kristina Kvien (a graduate of the US Army War College), was quoted by US Navy stating: “The United States is proud to partner with Ukraine in co-hosting the multinational maritime exercise Sea Breeze, which will help enhance interoperability and capabilities among participating nations. We are committed to maintaining the safety and security of the Black Sea.”
Interoperability is a NATO catchword for military integration. This year’s maneuvers will include amphibious warfare, land warfare, air defense, special operations and anti-submarine warfare facets.
Only one of the six (recognized) nations on the Black Sea is not a NATO member (Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey) or a NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner (Georgia and Ukraine): Russia. It is that country that troops, ships and military aircraft from 32 nations on six continents will be deployed against in a few days.
Rick Rozoff is a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. He has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. He is the manager of Stop NATO. This originally appeared at Anti-Bellum.
Putin Says NATO Expansion Is a ‘Relic of the Cold War’
Putin has denounced the US for orchestrating 2014 Ukraine coup.
(June 22, 2021) — In an op-ed published by the German newspaper Die Zeit, Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced NATO expansion as a “relic of the Cold War.” Putin penned the piece to commemorate the 8oth anniversary of Nazi Germany invading the Soviet Union.
“We hoped that the end of the Cold War would be a common victory for Europe,” Putin wrote. “But a different approach has prevailed based on the expansion of NATO, a relic of the Cold War. Fourteen new countries, including the former Soviet Union republics, joined the organization, effectively dashing hopes for a continent without dividing lines.”
Since the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, NATO has grown from 16 member states to 30. The military alliance has also waged wars of aggression across the Middle East, North Africa, and the Balkans. Although both the US and NATO appear not to be in any hurry to admit Ukraine, Kyiv is eager to join the alliance, something Russia has said would be a “red line.”
In the op-ed, Putin took shots at the US for orchestrating the 2014 coup in Ukraine that ousted Viktor Yanukovych. “Why did the United States organize a coup, and why did the countries of Europe weakly support it, provoking a split in Ukraine itself and the withdrawal of Crimea?” he wrote. “Now the entire system of European security has seriously degraded. Tensions are growing, and the risks of a new arms race are becoming real.”
Putin met with President Biden last week in Geneva. While the summit appeared to go well, and the two leaders agreed to return ambassadors to each other’s capitals, the US has since threatened new sanctions on Russia, a sign that the Biden administration is determined to escalate tensions with Moscow.
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