Ukraine, NATO launch Black Sea Drills despite Russian protest
Black Sea Drills, between Ukraine and NATO, involving thousands of troops, dozens of ships have come days after Russia's incident with a British destroyer off Crimea.
Ukraine and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) on June 28, 2021, launched Black Sea Drills that will involve dozens of warships. The exercise has been taking place despite the Russian calls to cancel the drill and is followed by the last week’s incident with a British Destroyer off Crimea.
According to Moscow, one of its warships had fired the warning shots and a warplane dropped bombs in the path of British Destroyer Defender to force her out of an area of Crimean Peninsula, which Russia had annexed in 2014.
However, Britain had denied the claims made by Russia and insisted that its ship wasn’t fired upon and was sailing in the Ukrainian Waters.
#NATO is strengthening deterrence & defence with joint exercises and maritime patrols such as #ExerciseSeaBreeze, where #Allies and Partners provide unique training opportunities designed to enhance readiness, improve collaboration & interoperability in the Black Sea region. https://t.co/NAYU0a6xFg— NATO ACT (@NATO_ACT) June 28, 2021
Black Sea Drills: Key details
• The Sea Breeze 2021 maneuvers started on June 28 and will last for two weeks.
• The drill involves about 30 warships and 40 aircraft from the United States and its NATO allies and Ukraine.
• U.S. Destroyer Ross has also arrived in the Ukrainian port of Odessa for the drills.
• According to U.S. Navy Captain Kyle Gantt., a large number of participants in the military exercise reflects a shared commitment to ensure free access to the International waters.
Russia’s protest against the drill and rising tension with Ukraine:
The Russian Government has criticized the ongoing drill and the Russian Defence Ministry has stated that it will closely monitor them.
Russia’s embassy in Washington also called for the latest exercise to be canceled and said that it will react if necessary to protect its own national security.
Rift with Ukraine:
On the other hand, Ukraine, despite the protest from Russia, has said that the main goal of the drill is to gain experience in joint actions during the multinational peacekeeping and security operations.
The relations between Russia and Ukraine had plummeted after Moscow seized Crimea and also supported the separatist rebellion in Eastern Ukraine.
The disturbance rose again in 2021 when Russia had massed troops on the border with Ukraine, where some of them even remain along with their equipment.
Russia’s attack on British warship: What was the case?
The drill has been followed by a rise in tension between NATO and Moscow, in which the latter claimed that it had dropped bombs in the path of the British warship to chase it out of the Black Sea waters off the coast of Crimea.
Russia had denounced Britain’s Defender move as a provocation and had warned that the next time it can fire to hit the intruding warships, in case, they again try to test the Russian Military resolve.
Russia had annexed Crimea in 2014 and claims that it is a Russian territory, but the peninsula is internationally recognized as part of Ukraine.
What did Britain say?
The United Kingdom, however, rejected Russia’s account of the incident and had insisted that it had been making a routine journey through an internationally recognized travel lane and that it remained in Ukrainian waters near Crimea.
Like most of the world, Britain also recognized Crimea as part of Ukraine despite the peninsula’s annexation by Russia.