NATO Conducts 14-Nation Naval War Games in Black Sea
Rick Rozoff / Anti-Bellum
(July 19, 2021) — Two days after completing the two-week, 32-nation Sea Breeze 2021 war games in the Black Sea, on July 12, the US and its NATO allies launched the similarly-named Breeze 2021 exercise in the Black Sea, hosted by Bulgaria.
This year’s iteration of the regular military exercise included over 2,000 military personnel and 30 ships from 14 NATO nations and NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partners: Albania, Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and the US.
In its last predecessor two years ago 27 ships from 12 countries participated, so there was an increase both in number of military vessels and number of countries involved.
Just as this year’s Sea Breeze included troops and equipment from an unprecedented number of nations, 32, from all six inhabited continents. The inclusion in the latter of nations from Africa, the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and South America for the first time — Egypt, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia, Australia, Japan, Pakistan and South Korea, Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and Brazil, respectively — demonstrates not only the ever-expanding reach of global NATO but also reveals preparations for what may be the first truly world war.
This year’s Breeze, which ended on July 19, included the participation of two of NATO’ four fleets, Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2). SNMG2 also participated in the Sea Breeze 2021 exercise.
NATO’s press release on the event mentioned as the rationale for the war games “Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea,” which has motivated the military bloc to “increas[e] its presence in the Black Sea.”
The US has deployed five guided-missile warships to the Black Sea so far this year; Britain has sent one, HMS Defender, which almost triggered a military clash with Russia, and the Netherlands has deployed a frigate. The latter two and the USS Ross destroyer participated in Sea Breeze maneuvers.
USS Ross and the other three US destroyers and US cruiser that have been in the Black Sea this year are Aegis-class warships equipped to launch Standard Missile-3 interceptor missiles…off Russia’s Black Sea coast.
Rick Rozoff 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.
NATO Ships Exercise in the Black Sea
(July 19, 2021) — Over 2,000 forces and 30 ships are taking part in exercise Breeze 2021 in the Black Sea. The Bulgarian-led maritime exercise, which began on 12 July and wraps up today (19 July), involves forces from 14 NATO Allies and partners — Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States.
The exercise aims to enhance interoperability among participating units and strengthen NATO’s readiness in the Black Sea region. “The Black Sea is of strategic importance to NATO. The Alliance remains strongly committed to Black Sea security,” said NATO Deputy Spokesperson Piers Cazalet.
Exercise Breeze is an annual exercise, dating back to 1996. This year, two of four NATO fleets are participating — Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2).
Since Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, NATO has increased its presence in the Black Sea.
NATO ships routinely operate in the Black Sea, consistent with international law, usually patrolling the waters for around two-thirds of the year. Prior to exercise Breeze, SNMG2 conducted patrols in the Black Sea and participated in exercise Sea Breeze, a multinational exercise co-hosted by Ukraine and the United States.
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