The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed upcoming joint US-Ukraine military exercises which will take place in the Black Sea dubbed operation Sea Breeze-2019, described as a multinational maritime exercise.
“That’s a dangerous idea, and that’s the way we will view it. Prior to that, we will study the facts. They are viewed by us as a dangerous idea,” said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin on Thuesday.
Moscow has long denounced the now annual maritime exercise as a threat to stability in the region, as it appears but more evidence that the United States is now treating Ukraine as if it were a de facto member of NATO.
Last year’s exercises, co-hosted by Ukraine and the United States, were held in July 2018 near the Odessa and Nikolayev Regions and in the northwestern part of the Black Sea, and involved over 2,000 multi-national servicemen, about 30 warships and aircraft from 19 countries.
Meanwhile the press service of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine confirms that this year, “The international exercises will be held in the north-western part of the Black Sea, in Mykolayiv, Kherson and Odesa regions,” as cited in Defence Blog.
The U.S. Department of Defense has described the Sea Breeze exercises as “a U.S. and Ukraine co-hosted multinational maritime exercise held in the Black Sea and is designed to enhance interoperability of participating nations and strengthen regional maritime security.”
Crucially, and likely the element seen by the Kremlin as most provocative, it’s being further described with the goal of strengthening “combined response capabilities” and to “demonstrate resolve among allied and partner nation forces to ensure stability in the Black Sea region.”