Two days after completing the two-week, 32-nation Sea Breeze 2021 war games in the Black Sea, on July 12 the U.S. and its NATO allies launched the similarly-named Breeze 2021 exercise in the Black Sea, hosted by Bulgaria.
This year’s iteration of the regular military exercise included over 2,000 military personnel and 30 ships from 14 NATO nations and NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partners: Albania, Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and the U.S..
In its last predecessor two years ago 27 ships from 12 countries participated, so there was an increase both in number of military vessels and number of countries involved. Just as this year’s Sea Breeze included troops and equipment from an unprecedented number of nations, 32, from all six inhabited continents. The inclusion in the latter of nations from Africa, the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and South America for the first time – Egypt, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia, Australia, Japan, Pakistan and South Korea, Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and Brazil, respectively – demonstrates not only the ever-expanding reach of global NATO but also reveals preparations for what may be the first truly world war.
This year’s Breeze, which ended on July 19, included the participation of two of NATO’ four fleets, Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2). SNMG2 also participated in the Sea Breeze 2021 exercise.
NATO’s press release on the event mentioned as the rationale for the war games “Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea,” which has motivated the military bloc to “increas[e] its presence in the Black Sea.”
The U.S. has deployed five guided-missile warships to the Black Sea so far this year; Britain has sent one, HMS Defender, which almost triggered a military clash with Russia, and the Netherlands has deployed a frigate. The latter two and the USS Ross destroyer participated in Sea Breeze maneuvers. USS Ross and the other three U.S. destroyers and U.S. cruiser that have been in the Black Sea this year are Aegis-class warships equipped to launch Standard Missile-3 interceptor missiles…off Russia’s Black Sea coast.