ODESA, Ukraine (NNS) -- Ukranian President joined the Ukrainian Navy, military members from exercise Sea Breeze 2019, and the people of Ukraine to celebrate Navy Day in Odesa, Ukraine, July 7.
While at the public event, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made remarks, presented medals to Ukrainian service members, visited with Ukrainians, toured foreign ships and attended several meetings and briefings.
“As we strive for more than strong and well-equipped Navy forces, as we are heading to this goal, our allies are standing shoulder to shoulder with us,” said Zelenskyy during the event’s opening ceremony.
Adm. Ihor Voronchenko, commander of the Ukrainian Navy, and Vice Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, toured displays of Ukrainian naval technology and equipment as well as laid flowers in the Black Sea aboard a Ukrainian patrol boat in memory of fallen Ukrainian sailors.
During remarks made at a Navy Day reception aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64), Franchetti spoke about her experiences with Ukrainian sailors earlier in the day.
“I was truly impressed by the sailors’ pride and professionalism,” said Franchetti. “At the same time, seeing the sailors participating in today’s Navy Day was a solemn reminder of the 24 Ukrainian Sailors being held unjustly by Russia.”
Franchetti continued by remarking on Russia’s actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
“The United States Navy stands firmly with Ukraine in support of its sovereignty and territorial integrity and condemns Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine,” said Franchetti. “Russia’s aggressive actions to impede maritime transit in the Sea of Azov ignores international norms and destabilize the region.
Navy Day is a national holiday in Ukraine that celebrates the founding of the Ukrainian Navy. It’s celebrated annually on the first Sunday in July.
Ukraine and U.S. are co-hosting the exercise in the Black Sea with participation and support coming from 17 other countries to include: Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Carney is one of several U.S. assets participating in SB19. Also participating from the U.S. is the expeditionary fast-transport ship USNS Yuma (T-EPF 8), a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, U.S. Marines from Marine Rotational Force-Europe; Navy Underwater Construction Team UCT-1B, and members of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and U.S. 6th Fleet staff.
Sea Breeze is a U.S. and Ukraine co-hosted multinational maritime exercise held in the Black Sea and is designed to enhance interoperability of participating nations and strengthen maritime security and peace within the region.
U.S. 6th Fleet conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, to advance U.S. national interests, security and stability in Europe and Africa.