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Exercise Sea Breeze 24, a Ukraine/US Led Multi-national Mine-Countermeasure Exercise Successfully Completed in Scotland

08 July 2024

From U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa / U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs

NAPLES, Italy - Exercise Sea Breeze took place of the west coast of Scotland for the second year where NATO and Ukrainian warships were supported by staff from 11 countries based in King George V docks in Glasgow. This two-week Mine Countermeasure exercise took place in the Firth of Clyde and Northen Minches, which was a culmination of two years of training for the Ukrainian staff and MCMV crews enabling them to successfully plan, control and execute mine countermeasure activities in a range of scenarios.

Commodore Banfield MBE, Co-Chair of the Maritime Capability Development Coalition for Ukraine commented, “Having met all their training objectives and exceeded all expectations, the crews of the Ukrainian Mine Counter Measure Vessels and command staff’s enthusiasm has been exemplary. International maritime collaboration between allies is crucial for this endeavour and will, I’m sure, continue to grow into the future.”

This vital training was essential to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Captain Denys Ivanin, the Ukrainian exercise Sea Breeze Director remarked, “It is with great pleasure that I can announce the successful completion of exercise Sea Breeze 24 involving our US, UK and NATO allies. I personally would like to thank them and our international mentors for their support and sharing their expert knowledge over the last two weeks. My team has benefitted in many ways but our approach from planning to developing tactics and practices to the betterment of my staff and crews on our counter-measure vessels has undoubtedly improved our capability. In the future I feel we can make an effective contribution to the regional security with our mine clearance capability within the Black Sea”

NATO also played their part with the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) participating with three ships from Germany, Estonia and France namely FGS Donau, ENS Ughandi and FS Cephee respectively supporting the training and international cooperation.

Rear Admiral Thomas Wall, USN and Commander Submarines NATO said ““It’s a pleasure to see the NATO staff and crew of SNMCMG1 supporting the training of the Ukrainian mine countermeasures ships.  Over the past two years, the Ukrainian Navy has undergone exceptional training, and this exercise has been the final test of their capabilities. I have been hugely impressed and inspired by the crews of the Chernihiv and Cherkasy, the amount they have achieved in such a short period of time is truly remarkable. It’s always good to see several nations working to support each other, and that interoperability across the nations is what keeps the Alliance and our Partners strong.

Within the King George V docks headquarters the mentors and support staff from 11 nations1 worked tirelessly with a keen sense of purpose and confidence hand in hand with the Ukrainian command team delivering on the exercises aims and objectives between from 24 June to 5 July.

"We are stronger together. Exercises like Sea Breeze are part of a long-term multinational training plan to maintain readiness between NATO Allies and partner nations in the Black Sea region," said Vice Adm. Thomas Ishee, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet. "The continuation of this exercise program is a visible demonstration of the U.S.'s enduring commitment to enhance maritime security. The U.S. Navy supports freedom of navigation and trains regularly to address the major issue of floating mines in the Black Sea.”

The two Ukrainian mine hunters sailed to Glasgow to participate in the exercise. They were former Royal Navy vessels, previously named Shoreham, and Grimsby, and were transferred to the Ukrainian Navy in 2023. Now named Cherkasy and Chernihiv the ships previously took part in Exercise Joint Warrior, and Exercise Sea Breeze in 2023.

This is the second time, of 23 previous iterations, that Exercise Sea Breeze has taken place in UK waters. The purpose of training Ukrainian maritime forces is based on operating a future mine countermeasure capability in the Black Sea once the war in Ukraine is over and the Bosporus Strait is reopened under the terms of the Montreux Convention.

The UK has been committed to supporting Ukraine since the illegal invasion in 2022. As one of the largest military donors, the UK has demonstrated its commitment through substantial military support, so far providing more than £7.6 billion to supporting the armed forces of Ukraine.


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