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Ukrainian President visit NATO ships in Odesa

BLACK SEA (July 11, 2019) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak were received on board Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) ships during a port visit in Odesa prior to US-Ukraine led Exercise Sea Breeze 2019.

Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) made a planned port visit in Odesa July 4 to 9 in order to prepare for their participation in multinational maritime exercise Sea Breeze 2019. This exercise, co-hosted by the United States and Ukraine, includes land, sea and air components and focuses primarily on maritime interdiction operations including air defense, anti-submarine warfare, damage control, search and rescue, and other tactical manoeuvres.

President Zelenskyy was visiting Ukrainian Navy ships in honour of Ukrainian Navy Day on the 7th of July and took the opportunity to visit SNMG2 flagship HMCS Toronto and HMS Duncan.

On board TORONTO, he was greeted by SNMG2 Commander Commodore Josiee Kurtz (CAN N) who explained the group’s involvement in Exercise SEA BREEZE. He briefly met SNMG2 Staff and sailors and was given a tour of the bridge and a brief explanation of its capabilities.

While not a member of NATO, Ukraine is a highly valued partner to NATO, contributing to NATO operations and regularly exercising together in a demonstration of Ukraine’s strong commitment to international security. This visit demonstrated how important this cooperation is both for NATO and for Ukraine. Previously on the 4th of June, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had welcomed President Zelenskyy to NATO Headquarters for bilateral talks, as well as a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission focused on the security situation in the country.

SNMG2 is composed by the flagship, Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Toronto, the Turkish frigate TCG Turgutreis, the British frigate HMS Duncan and the Romanian frigate ROS Regele Ferdinand. On completion of Sea Breeze 2019, the group will be joined in the Black Sea by the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2) and will participate in the Bulgarian-led exercise Breeze.

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