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    The USS Whidbey Island dock landing ship which arrived for the Sea Breeze 2016 exercise is seen here in Odessa port.

    Naval Phase of US-Led NATO Sea Breeze 2016 Drills Begins in Odessa

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    Naval phase of the US-led multinational Sea Breeze 2016 drills begins in Ukrainian Odessa Sunday, local media reported.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The exercise itself is preceded by the ceremonial part visited by Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak and the US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt among others, Ukraine 112 TV channel reported.

    NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (C) poses with officials and military personnel in front of a NATO unmanned drone outside PGE National Stadium, the venue of the NATO Summit, in Warsaw, Poland, July 8, 2016.
    © REUTERS / Agencja Gazeta/Adam Stepien
    US and Ukrainian forces commenced the 15th iteration of Sea Breeze on July 18. The 2016 exercises involve about 2,300 personnel and 25 vessels from 13 nations.

    Sea Breeze is an annual air, land and maritime exercise designed to improve maritime safety, security and stability in the Black Sea, according to the US Navy. Russia has protested the presence of US and NATO warships in the Black Sea, citing a 1936 convention that restricts warship tonnage in bodies of water for nations that do not border the waterway.

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    Sea Breeze 2016, NATO, Odessa, Ukraine
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