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Ukraine's new Sandown-class minehunters conclude MCM training with ‘Sea Breeze'

The Ukrainian Navy's two newly acquired ex-Royal Navy Sandown-class minehunters completed their latest phase of training in the multinational ‘Sea Breeze' exercise, held in UK waters in late June/early July. (Armed Forces of Ukraine)

The Ukrainian Navy has completed its first multinational exercise series, ‘Sea Breeze 2023', operating the service's two newly acquired ex-Royal Navy (RN) Sandown-class minehunters, Chernihiv (ex-HMS Grimsby) and Cherkasy (ex-HMS Shoreham).

In a Twitter announcement on 12 July the UK RN said the exercise marked the end of this phase of training for the Ukraine's new minehunting ships, which were transferred from the UK in late 2022.

Cherkasy and Chernihiv participated with assets from 15 countries and NATO Maritime Command in the 22nd iteration of the Black Sea-focused Exercise ‘Sea Breeze', which this year took place in the Firth of Clyde, near Glasgow and Loch Ewe, Scotland, from 26 June to 7 July. While the exercise was in progress, on 2 July the Ukrainian Navy also held an official flag-raising ceremony in Glasgow and commissioned the two ships into service.

Traditionally co-hosted by Ukraine and the US Sixth Fleet in the Black Sea region, ‘Sea Breeze' was this year transferred to UK waters in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Turkey's subsequent closure of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits to all but Black Sea-homeported warships.

The exercise aims to build maritime security and stability operations with multinational partners to enhance the capabilities of Black Sea and Partnership for Peace maritime security forces while progressively training and preparing the Ukraine Maritime Command staff.

This year's iteration, which was both land- and sea-based, focused on mine countermeasures (MCM) and dive operations.

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