According to a press release from the U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, Exercise Sea Breeze 24, a Ukraine/US-led multinational Mine Countermeasure (MCM) exercise, has concluded successfully off the west coast of Scotland.

NATO and Ukrainian warships, supported by personnel from 11 countries, participated in the two-week exercise based in the King George V docks in Glasgow.

The exercise took place in the Firth of Clyde and Northern Minches, marking the culmination of two years of intensive training for Ukrainian staff and MCMV crews.

Commodore Banfield MBE, Co-Chair of the Maritime Capability Development Coalition for Ukraine, commended the Ukrainian crews, stating, “Having met all their training objectives and exceeded all expectations, the crews of the Ukrainian Mine Counter Measure Vessels and command staff’s enthusiasm has been exemplary. International maritime collaboration between allies is crucial for this endeavour and will, I’m sure, continue to grow into the future.”

Captain Denys Ivanin, the Ukrainian exercise Sea Breeze Director, expressed his satisfaction with the exercise, saying, “It is with great pleasure that I can announce the successful completion of exercise Sea Breeze 24 involving our US, UK and NATO allies. I personally would like to thank them and our international mentors for their support and sharing their expert knowledge over the last two weeks. My team has benefitted in many ways but our approach from planning to developing tactics and practices to the betterment of my staff and crews on our counter-measure vessels has undoubtedly improved our capability. In the future, I feel we can make an effective contribution to the regional security with our mine clearance capability within the Black Sea.”

NATO’s Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) participated with ships from Germany, Estonia, and France, supporting the training and enhancing international cooperation. Rear Admiral Thomas Wall, USN, and Commander Submarines NATO, highlighted the importance of the exercise, saying, “It’s a pleasure to see the NATO staff and crew of SNMCMG1 supporting the training of the Ukrainian mine countermeasures ships. Over the past two years, the Ukrainian Navy has undergone exceptional training, and this exercise has been the final test of their capabilities. I have been hugely impressed and inspired by the crews of the Chernihiv and Cherkasy; the amount they have achieved in such a short period of time is truly remarkable.”

Vice Adm. Thomas Ishee, commander of the U.S. 6th Fleet, emphasized the significance of the exercise, stating, “We are stronger together. Exercises like Sea Breeze are part of a long-term multinational training plan to maintain readiness between NATO Allies and partner nations in the Black Sea region. The continuation of this exercise program is a visible demonstration of the U.S.’s enduring commitment to enhance maritime security. The U.S. Navy supports freedom of navigation and trains regularly to address the major issue of floating mines in the Black Sea.”

The Ukrainian mine hunters, Cherkasy and Chernihiv, formerly known as Shoreham and Grimsby of the Royal Navy, sailed to Glasgow to participate in the exercise. The ships were transferred to the Ukrainian Navy in 2023 and had previously participated in Exercise Joint Warrior and Exercise Sea Breeze in the same year.

Exercise Sea Breeze has now been held in UK waters for the second time in its 23-year history. The exercise aims to prepare Ukrainian maritime forces to operate a future mine countermeasure capability in the Black Sea, contingent on the end of the conflict in Ukraine and the reopening of the Bosporus Strait under the Montreux Convention.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Jim (@guest_833199)
11 days ago

Is there still any consideration of sending these vessels up the Rhine and into the Danube to reach the Black Sea.

LongTime (@guest_833301)
10 days ago
Reply to  Jim

They’d just fit through the Rhine-Danube canal but only 1ft spare in the narrowest lock.

Eric (@guest_833424)
10 days ago
Reply to  Jim

They’ll have to pass the territory of some nations with very Russia-friendly leadership. I think that is the biggest problem.