Every year, the U.S. Navy leads an international flotilla of warships, along with other naval forces in the air and on the land, through a series of frills in and around Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline as part of an exercise nicknamed Sea Breeze. This time, in the face of heightened tensions with Russia, the American contingent is significantly more powerful, including both the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Carney and the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Hue City.
Exercise Sea Breeze 2017 officially began with a ceremony in Ukraine’s coastal city of Odessa on July 10, 2017. This is the seventeenth time the U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet has run the event, which dates back to the 1990s.
With more than 3,000 service members from 17 nations, including approximately 800 Americans from various U.S. military branches, this iteration is the biggest and most involved version to date. The practice scenarios cover maritime interdiction operations, air defense, anti-submarine warfare, damage control tactics, search and rescue, and amphibious warfare, according to the U.S. Navy. Usually, American personnel also conduct civic action missions, such as refurbishing schools or other municipal buildings, and engaging with the local public, in between the training sessions.