Numerous NATO vessels took part in Sea Breeze 2017 exercises, organized by Ukraine and USA. This year, for the first time, American Special Forces trained Black Sea operations jointly with their Ukrainian counterparts.
American Naval Special Warfare Operators (SEALS) were invited by Ukrainian government. Mixed, international teams operated in both sea and land environments. For landing operations, Ukrainian helicopters and American CV-22 Ospreys were utilized. The CV-22 came from UK based 352nd Special Operations Wing
Soldiers exchange experience in fast patrol boat operations, boarding actions (including boarding from air), vessel inspection, suspect apprehension and direct combat. Tactical-level coordination of American and Ukrainian units was the main subject of the exercise.
In mixed platoons, soldiers not only exchanged know-how but also tried to work out initial procedures for future joint operations. Big emphasis was put on communication, logistics and intelligence. Language barrier and different training were the biggest hurdles, however commanders of both forces declared desire for further joint exercises.
Sea Breeze are cyclical exercises conducted on the Black Sea since 1997. This year, over 3000 soldiers, 31 vessels and 29 aircraft took part. Countries involved were: Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Canada, Norway, Poland, Romania, United States, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, Great Britain and Italy. As a part of Sea Breeze, American task force, consisting of USS Hue City missile cruiser (CG-66) and USS Carney destroyer (DDG-64) entered the Odessa harbor