NATO’s Largest-Ever ‘Sea Breeze’ Naval Drills Begin in Black Sea Amid HMS Defender Fracas

The US and its allies have begun using “freedom of navigation operations” to provoke incidents at sea with Russia, China, and other nations by deliberately sailing their warships through those nations’ claimed territorial waters. The US claims to be enforcing the UN Convention on the Laws of the Sea, but it’s never ratified the document itself.

The US and 31 allies and partners inaugurated the 21st Sea Breeze exercises in Odessa, Ukraine, on Monday. The drills, positioned immediately off Russia’s Crimean coast, are the largest yet and come as Kiev is increasing pressure on NATO to be admitted to the alliance.

In addition to the US and Ukraine, 30 other nations are participating, including 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, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. They have collectively contributed 5,000 troops, 32 ships, 40 aircraft and 18 special operations and dive teams.

“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,” Kristina Kvien, Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Ukraine, said in a statement last week. “We are committed to maintaining the safety and security of the Black…

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