The bilateral Ukrainian-American Sea Breeze 2012 Exercises, conducted in the spirit of Partnership for Peace, started in Odessa.

The opening ceremony was attended by the Acting Commander of the Naval Forces of Ukraine, Vice Admiral Yuri Ilyin, the 6th Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Frank Pandolfe, the chief of the Sea Breeze 2012 Exercises Captain First Rank Denis Berezovsky (the Ukrainian Naval Forces), the co-director of the Sea Breeze 2012 Exercises Captain First Rank Dan Schaffer, the Exercise participants and the representatives of local authorities.

The Exercises are conducted under the Program of bilateral cooperation between the Ministries of Defense of Ukraine and the United States. In 2012, its theme is the international maritime security operation. In general, the Exercises are attended by 17 countries.

At the press conference dedicated to the start of the Sea Breeze-2012, the Acting Commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Vice Admiral Yu.Ilin expressed his belief that "the Sea Breeze 2012 Exercises will contribute to training improvement, training of naval forces to conduct international maritime security operation and the strengthening of confidence between the seamen and the countries they represent."

According to the Ukrainian Vice Admiral, this year Exercises are conducted to work out the common standards of the multinational forces and headquarters and to show the world the peaceful intentions of Ukraine to ensure peace in the region.

The marine component of the Exercises includes six ships of various classes. The coast component includes the Marine Corps combat tactical group total of 300 individuals and 36 units of armored vehicles. The air component includes several planes and helicopters.

The Exercises will continue until July 21.

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