Ukraine, US launch exercises in Black Sea after warship incident



The British Navy’s HMS Defender passed close to Crimea in the Black Sea.


Ukraine and the United States launched joint naval exercises in the Black Sea on Monday in a demonstration of Western cooperation with Kiev as they clash with Russia.

The exercises come just days after the British Navy’s HMS Defender passed near Russian-annexed Crimea in the Black Sea, with Moscow claiming to have fired warning shots at the destroyer to ward it off.

Sea Breeze exercises – which have taken place 21 times since 1997 – will involve some 5,000 troops from more than 30 countries.

The exercises will last two weeks and involve around 30 ships, including the guided-missile destroyer USS Ross.

Ukrainian Navy Commander Oleksiy Neizhpapa told an opening ceremony in Odessa that the exercises would send a “powerful message to maintain stability and peace in our region.”

Russia said it fired warning shots last Wednesday at HMS Defender after what it called a violation of its territorial waters.

Britain said it was making “an innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law“.

Russia annexed Crimea to Ukraine in 2014 and claims the waters around the peninsula as part of its territory. Most countries do not recognize the takeover and support Ukraine’s water claims.

Washington is a key ally of Kiev in its conflict with Moscow over Crimea and the pro-Moscow breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.

In 2018, Russian forces boarded and took control of three Ukrainian warships off the Black Sea Peninsula.

(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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