Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 76

Ukraine’s Black Sea Fleet began yesterday a major exercise whose tasks include:

–launching artillery, missile and torpedo strikes against an attacking fleet (by shore batteries and combat ships)–pursuing an intruding submarine–repelling an air attack–laying mines and de-activating them–staging an amphibious landing.

Supervised by the Ukrainian navy’s commander in chief, Vice-Admiral Mikhaylo Yezhel, the exercise involves fifteen ships, thirteen land-based aircraft, a number of helicopters, twenty-four armored vehicles and approximately 3,000 personnel. The Ukrainian exercise overlaps with one which being conducted separately by Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, mainly based in the Crimea, from April 19-28. The two fleets will briefly unite for rehearsing the rescue of a ship in distress. This will only be a brief phase of two otherwise distinct national exercises. Both sides, however, seem to value this joint phase for political atmospherics and as evidence of the Russian and Ukrainian fleets’ ability to cooperate with each other.

Also yesterday, the Turkish navy began an exercise in the Black Sea which is planned to last until May 3. It involves surface warships, submarines, and strike and patrol aviation in combat practice. Some of the Turkish ships will make port calls at Poti and Batumi, Georgia and Constanta, Romania during this exercise (UNIAN, April 19; Turkish Daily News, April 19).