KYIV -- Sea Breeze 2020, a multinational naval exercise, has been launched in the Ukrainian waters of the Black Sea.
The commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Oleksiy Neizhpapa, and Vice Admiral Gene Black, commander of the U.S. 6th Fleet, announced the commencement of the maneuvers via a video statement on July 20.
Black said that the Sea Breeze maneuvers' goal is to increase maritime regional security in the Black Sea. According to him, personnel from nine countries, 27 vessels and 19 aircraft are taking part in the exercises.
The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Porter entered the Black Sea to participate in the drills the day before.
Additional U.S. Navy P-8 aircraft from Patrol Squadron VP (47) will be participating in the U.S. and Ukrainian co-hosted drills.
The maneuvers are expected to last until July 26.
Ukraine's Defense Ministry said earlier that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year Sea Breeze drills will be limited to the marine phase only with the involvement of aviation.
Ships of partner countries will dock at Ukrainian ports only if refueling is necessary.
Sea Breeze is an annual multinational exercise that has been held since 1997.