US Navy destroyer, command ship arrive in Ukraine for exercise Sea Breeze

US Navy destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) and command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) arrived in Ukraine ahead of the start of exercise Sea Breeze 2018.

USS Porter (DDG 78) arrives in Odessa, Ukraine, July 8, 2018. Photo: US Navy

Only USS Porter pulled into the Ukrainian port city of Odessa prior to the exercise.

The two ships entered the Black Sea on July 6 and July 7 and will operate in the region for up to 21 days, which is the maximum warships from states without shores on the Black Sea are allowed to stay under the Montreaux convention.

Last year’s edition of exercise Sea Breeze was joined by Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG 66) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64).

Sea Breeze 2018 will include personnel from Bulgaria, the UK, Italy, Greece, Georgia, Denmark, Estonia, Canada, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Romania, Poland, the United States, Turkey, Ukraine, and Sweden.

Exercise evolutions will include prevention of illegal activities at sea and search and rescue operations in addition to air defense, anti-submarine and amphibious warfare exercises. The exercise starts July 9 and is expected to conclude July 21. According to Ukrainian media reports, USS Porter is scheduled to visit ports in Bulgaria and Romania after the exercise.

“The USS Mount Whitney is excited to return to the Black Sea. We look forward to working with our partners in the region to build relationships that promote peace and economic stability in the region and the globe,” said Capt. Robert Aguilar, commanding officer of Mount Whitney.

USS Mount Whitney is forward-deployed to Gaeta, Italy, while the USS Porter is forward-deployed to Rota, Spain.