The Royal Navy’s ‘HMS Duncan’ and the Turkish Navy frigate ‘Yildirim’ moored in the Black Sea port of Odessa on Monday, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry wrote on its website. Both ships, which belong to NATO Standing Maritime Group 2 (NSMG2) covering the Mediterranean, are expected to remain in Ukrainian waters until July 27.
“The program of the ships’ visit includes a joint exercise with the Ukrainian Navy to train mid-sea survival skills as well as surveillance operations,” the press release said.
It added the British and Turkish warships will then participate in separate naval drills, a so-called ‘passing exercise’ (PASSEX), involving Ukrainian vessels. Usually, PASSEX-type exercises are conducted to ensure that vessels from different navies are able to communicate with one another in wartime or during humanitarian operations.
‘HMS Duncan’ is the sixth and last of the Type 45 air-defense destroyers commissioned for the Royal Navy.
The billion-pound destroyers were meant to revolutionize naval warfare with greater anti-aircraft and anti-missile clout, becoming a backbone of the Royal Navy in the next decades.
The Turkish Navy’s ‘Yildirim’ is a Yavuz-class frigate designed in Germany. Also a part of NSMG2, it is armed with Harpoon anti-ship missiles as well as air defense weapons systems.
The two NATO vessels arrived in Odessa just several days after the US, Ukraine and 14 other nations deployed warships, combat aircraft and special operations teams for the ‘Sea Breeze 2017’ exercise off the Ukrainian coast.
Notably, the US Navy sent its Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser ‘USS Hue City’ and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer ‘USS Carney,’ along with a P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft, the Sixth Fleet said in a press release.