US, Ukraine to Hold Naval Drills in Black SeaDefense | September 8, 2014, Monday // 08:54| views
USS Ross (DDG 71) approaches the end of the Bosphorus Strait on its transit to the Black Sea on September 3, 2014. Photo: US Navy
Twelve warships from NATO and other countries are to stage naval exercises, known as Sea Breeze, in the Black Sea.
Hosted by Ukraine, the drills are led by the US.
The maneuvers are held on an annual basis (and have been since 1997) and are not related to the developments in Ukraine and its standoff with Russia.
However, they follow a number of US gestures showing support for Kiev in the conflict.
Alongside a number of NATO countries, namely Canada, Romania, Spain, Turkey and the US, Ukraine has also deployed vessels, according to Ukraine's news agency UNIAN.
Georgia, Norway, Sweden and France have sent observers.
US destroyer USS Ross, which entered the Black Sea last week, will be part of the exercise.
The Sea Breeze drills were to be held in July, when they are usually scheduled, but were postponed.
According to the US European Command, "much of the exercise will focus on maritime interdiction operations as a primary means to enhance maritime security".
The drills will continue from September 8 to 9.