From June 15 to June 30, British and Ukrainian troops conducted the Cossack Express-2001 exercise at Ukraine’s Yavoriv training range. A British special-force battalion and a company-size Ukrainian logistics unit practiced offensive tactics, with search-and-destroy operations and live firing, in real-combat situations in the wooded environment of the Carpathian foothills (UNIAN, DINAU, June 19, 30).
On July 6, a day after the NATO Secretary-General William Kiernan’s visit to Kyiv, the joint exercise Sea Breeze-2001 began on Ukraine’s Black Sea coast. Led by the United States in the framework of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, Sea Breeze is a naval, amphibious and air exercise, characteristically involving the Black Sea riparian countries alongside NATO member countries. This year, as in most years, Russsia declined the invitation to participate. The Russian military feels that the NATO-designed exercise scenarios cast Russia in a “secondary role.” Russia’s naval command has delegated three officere to watch this year’s exercise.
This year’s Sea Breeze involves a dozen vessels, ten fixed-wing planes and helicopters, thirty-four armored personnel carriers and some 1,500 personnel. From July 6 to 16, the exercise is divided into three phases: a planning and computerized-gaming phase in Odessa conducted by a combined staff, a naval phase and a land phase.
The naval exercise, in Ukrainian waters of the northwestern Black Sea, includes convoy movements behind mine sweepers, cargo transfer between ships in motion, artillery practice, and aid to damaged ships. The land phase, at Ukraine’s Chobanka training range, features reconnaissance, embargo-enforcement actions, and an amphibious landing on an unfortified coast, as part of an operation to restore peace in a conflict-torn “Green Republic.” Ukraine’s naval commander, Admiral Mikhailo Yezhel, commands this year’s Sea Breeze exercise.
Ukraine’s main goal–as that of Romania, Bulgaria and Georgia–in this exercise is to advance toward the goal of interoperability of their forces with those of NATO countries. A large-scale land exercise, Peace Shield 2001, will follow immediately thereafter (UNIAN, DINAU, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, July 6-7).
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