32 Vessels, 24 Aircraft and 3,000 Troops Exercising With Ukraine
HMS DUNCAN, a Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer, has arrived in Odessa in Ukraine, alongside forces from 18 other allied and partner nations, to take part in a major multinational maritime training exercise – Sea Breeze 2019, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in London announced on 7 July. The exercise will see a combined total of 3,000 troops, 32 naval vessels and 24 aircraft conducting joint training.
DUNCAN, participating in the exercise as part of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, is being supported by colleagues from Operation Orbital – the UK training mission to Ukraine. The vessel also hosted Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as part of the Ukraine Navy Day celebrations in Odessa.
“With a multitude of nations combining a wealth of maritime assets, Exercise Sea Breeze 2019 demonstrates the strength of solidarity between Ukraine and its international partners […] From crucial training exercises to long-term political reform – the UK is committed to standing by Ukraine, whilst Russia maintains its illegal annexation of Crimea,” commented Commander of the United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group (COMUKCSG), Cdre Michael Utley while visiting HMS DUNCAN.
Britain has been providing training support to help build resilience and capacity in the Ukrainian armed forces since 2015 and has trained 16,000 personnel to date. Earlier this year the operation expanded to include maritime training, including seamanship, sea survival and maritime tactical training courses.
The UK also supports Ukraine in its institutional reforms in the defence and security sector, helping to drive more effective governance. London will soon introduce a permanent Naval Attaché to the UK Defence Section in Kyiv, to help build Ukrainian naval capability.