ABOARD USS ROSS — After a conflict between Russian armed troops and a British destroyer off the coast of Crimea last month, NATO And Ukraine conducted Black Sea manoeuvres involving dozens of warships in a two-week demonstration of their strong defence connections and capacity.
Around 30 warships and 40 planes from NATO countries and Ukraine participated in the Sea Breeze 2021 drills, which finished on Saturday. The drills were meant to enhance how the equipment and personnel of the participating nations function together, according to the commander of the USS Ross, a US Navy destroyer that took part in the manoeuvres.
Cmdr. John D. John, on board the guided-missile destroyer previously sent to the area for training, stated, “We’d like to demonstrate to everyone, the world community, that no one government can claim the Black Sea or any international body of water.” “Those bodies of water belong to the world community, and we’re dedicated to ensuring that all countries have access to international waterways.”
The Russian Defense Ministry stated that Sea Breeze was being actively monitored. In the Black Sea and southern Russia, the Russian military staged a series of concurrent manoeuvres, with aeroplanes rehearsing bombing missions and long-range air defence missiles deploying to protect the coast.
Last month, Russia claimed that one of its warships in the Black Sea fired warning shots and a warplane dropped bombs in the route of the HMS Defender, a British Royal Navy destroyer, to chase it away from Russian-claimed territorial seas near Crimea.
Russia slammed the Defender’s action as a provocation and threatened to fire on invading vessels if it happened again.
The Defender was travelling in Ukrainian seas when Russia launched its jets into the air and gunfire were heard during the standoff, according to Britain, which, like most other governments, does not recognise Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
The event heightened relations between Russia and NATO’s members. Over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, its support for a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine, claims of Russian cyber assaults, election meddling, and other irritants, relations between Russia and the West have fallen to post-Cold War lows.
Even if Russia had sunk the British vessel, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated last week that the incident with the Defender would not have launched a worldwide battle since the West understands it can’t win such a war. Should a similar situation occur again, Putin’s remark appeared to suggest his intention to raise the stakes.
The Sea Breeze participants, according to John onboard the Ross, were exercising their freedom to operate in international seas. “A concrete show of our commitment to each other for a secure and stable Black Sea region,” he said of the drills.