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US Cancels 'Essential' Navy Drills in Black Sea Over Conflict in Ukraine, Media Reports

Sputnik News


WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US Navy canceled "essential" Sea Breeze 2022 exercise in the Black Sea over Russia's special military operation in Ukraine, Newsweek reported on Monday, citing unnamed US officials.

The major navy exercise was "canceled due to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine," according to a Biden administration official quoted in the report.

Last year, the exercise was dubbed "essential" to deterring Russia's alleged aggression, the report said.

In 2021, Sea Breeze involved 32 warships from NATO and partners, the report said.

Instead of the canceled drills, NATO is conducting a smaller exercise, Breeze 2022, off the coast of Bulgaria, near the Black Sea port cities of Varna and Burgas, the report noted.

Breeze 2022 involves a total of 24 vessels, five planes and two helicopters from 10 nations and is the first NATO-led exercise since the beginning of Russia's special military operation, according to the report. At the same time, no US ships are taking part in the exercise.

Soon after Russia launched its operation, Turkey warned both Black Sea and non-Black Sea countries not to send warships through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits, citing the Montreux Convention of 1936 that grants the country the right to restrict the passage of military ships through the straits in emergency situations.

On February 24, Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine after the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk appealed for help in defending themselves against Ukrainian forces. In response, the West rolled out a comprehensive sanctions campaign against Russia and boosted military assistance for Ukraine, including lethal weapons.

© Sputnik

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