The Bulgarian Navy corvette Bodri is taking part in Sea Breeze 2019, the exercise in the Black Sea co-hosted by the United States and Ukraine, Bulgaria’s Defence Ministry said.
Sea Breeze 2019, the 19th such exercise, began on July 1 and continues until July 12.
The Bodri sailed from Varna on June 30 to take part in the exercise, held in the port of Odessa and the territorial waters of Ukraine.
Exercise Sea Breeze is designed to enhance interoperability among participating nations and strengthen regional security by focusing on a variety of security and stability scenarios in the areas of land, sea and air.
“The United States Navy, along with 18 of our closest friends, allies, and partners, are here to continue the Sea Breeze exercise series,” said Captain Matthew Lehman, commodore of Task Force 65 and US exercise director, according to the Sixth Fleet’s website.
“Exercises like this show the world that the US stands with our Nato allies and partners here in Europe. The goal is quite simple: to train and work together, side by side, and to ensure a Europe that is whole, free, prosperous, and at peace.”
Ukrainian Rear Admiral Alexey Neizhpapa, the exercise director for Ukraine, echoed Lehman’s comments, highlighting how effort put in by all participants brought them closer together.
“Thanks to long-term engagement and mutual co-operation, we have a great family called ‘Sea Breeze,’” said Neizhpapa.
Ukraine and the US are co-hosting the exercise in the Black Sea with participation and support coming from 17 other countries, includng Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
“If you look around, you will see Ukrainian, Georgian, Turkish, Moldovan, Romanian, and Bulgarian sailors who represent almost every Black Sea nation,” Lehman said. “That is a lot of friends to have in one place, especially in the Black Sea where maritime security, the rule of law, and the international order are critical to economic prosperity and regional peace. One day, like years before, I hope that every Black Sea country will see the benefit of working with one’s neighbours toward regional peace.”
Some of the training areas include maritime interdiction operations, air defence, special forces training, anti-submarine warfare, damage control tactics, search and rescue, amphibious warfare, and a noncommissioned officer leadership course to include training in operational planning.
U.S. participation includes the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64), the expeditionary fast-transport ship USNS Yuma (T-EPF 8), a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, US Marines from Marine Rotational Force-Europe, Navy Underwater Construction Team UCT-1B, and members of the US Naval Forces Europe-Africa and US 6th Fleet staff.
US 6th Fleet conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, to advance US national interests, security and stability in Europe and Africa.
(Main photo, of the Bodri: Bulgarian Ministry of Defence)