Ukraine, NATO countries hold naval drills in Black Sea

The Ukrainian Navy held a passing exercise (PASSEX) in the Black Sea with the naval forces of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member states, namely the United States, Turkey and Romania, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in a statement Saturday.

The naval drills involved seven vessels, including the island-class patrol boat “Sloviansk” of the Ukrainian Navy and the flagship of the U.S. Sixth Fleet “Mount Whitney.”

The P-8 “Poseidon” patrol aircraft and a helicopter of the U.S. Navy also took part in the exercises, which included tactical maneuvering, signal production training, communication training and other activities.

According to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, the main goal of the naval drills is to work out the interaction of the multinational tactical group in line with the NATO standards and increase the level of interoperability between the participating naval forces.

Another aim of the exercises is to maintain security in the Black Sea, the ministry said.

Ukraine holds PASSEX naval drills in the Black Sea periodically with NATO members and partner countries to bring the level of its naval forces closer to the alliance’s standards. In June 2020, Ukraine was granted the status of a partner in the NATO Enhanced Opportunities Program.