U.S. and Ukraine to conduct joint naval drills

TENDRA, Ukraine (July 15, 2010) The Ukrainian navy ship LST Konstantn Olsnanskly (U 402) is anchored in the Black Sea during an exercise Sea Breeze 2010 anti-piracy exercise in the Black Sea. The exercise simulated landing on an island overrun by pirates. Sea Breeze is the largest exercise this year in the Black Sea, with 20 ships, 13 aircraft and more than 1,600 military members from Azerbaijan, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Moldova, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and the U.S. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristopher Regan/released)

A joint naval exercise called “Sea Breeze 2014” will take place in the northwestern part of the Black Sea later this week.  Both Ukrainian and U.S. Naval forces will take part in the event, according to the Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense.

The RT Network reported that the exercise will include representatives from Georgia, Romania and Turkey.  A statement by U.S. European Command Spokesman Navy Capt. Greg Hicks said that approximately 280 U.S. servicemen will join the drills.  Ships from Canada, Spain and Romania will also be present at the event.

Originally, Yury Lutsenko, aide to President Petro Poroshenko, stated that the U.S., France, Italy, Poland, and Norway would supply modern weapons to the Ukraine.  However since that statement was allegedly made, Norway has since denied that they will be sending any arms to the Ukraine.

We are now trying to find out why such information was distributed,”said Norway Royal Defense Ministry Spokesman Lars Gjemble said. According to the RT Network, two general staff officers will attend the military drills that are planned to be held in the Ukraine but Norway has been taking part in the exercises for years.

Shortly after Norway’s denial, the U.S., Italy, and Poland also claimed the report was untrue.

A senior U.S. official stated that no such offer of “lethal assistance” has been made by the United States.  An Italian defense ministry official also called the news incorrect.

“Italy, along with other EU and NATO countries, is preparing a package of non-lethal military aid such as bullet-proof vests and helmets for Ukraine,” the official said.

 NATO is currently in the middle of its seven-day military exercises in Latvia.  It stated that the event will show its commitment to Baltic member states in the face of an “assertive” Russia.

During the fall, additional exercises will be held Germany, Norway, Ukraine, and Poland.

During the NATO summit in Wales held last week, a plan was developed to create a new rapid reaction force in Eastern Europe.  It has been reported that the Baltic states and Romania have offered to host the force.

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