On Saturday, July 7, the U.S. 6th Fleet Blue Ridge-class command-and -control ship USS Mount Whitney entered the Black Sea to participate in the American-Ukrainian Sea Breeze 2018 naval exercises at Odessa, reported Naples-based 6th Fleet Command.
"The Mount Whitney entered the Black Sea on July 7 to carry out security operations at sea, to improve regional marine stability and also to improve training of naval forces of NATO’s allies and partners. Within this mission, the ship will participate in the Sea Breeze 2018 exercises,” the statement said. On Friday, July 6, the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter entered the Black Sea for the same purpose.
Command also announced: "various tasks, including prevention of illegal activities at sea, combating in the air and under water, landing and also search and rescue operations will be practiced during exercises".
The exercises are expected to take place from July 9 to 21 and will cover the north-western part of the sea. Sea Breeze exercises have been carried out annually since 1997 according to the “Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation on Defense and Military Relations between the Department of Defense of the United States of America and the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. The exercises are open also to other countries.