Two frigates from the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) have entered the Black Sea – HMCS Toronto of the Royal Canadian Navy and Santa María of the Spanish Navy. The destroyer HNLMS Evertsen of the Royal Netherlands Navy had entered the Black Sea earlier. All three ships are being escorted by the Turkish frigate “Gelibolu”.
A post retweeted by the official NATO Maritime Command stated that the ships will participate in the “Sea Shield” exercise alongside NATO’s Ukrainian and Georgian partners.
Earlier the Canadian embassy in Ukraine announced that Toronto and Santa María will dock at the Port of Odessa after patrolling the Black Sea.
This is not the first time NATO ships have visited the Black Sea in the last few months. At the end of February, the American destroyer USS “Donald Cook” entered the sea with an escort group. After the ships visited Odessa, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the visit “a clear demonstration of cooperation between Kyiv and Washington”.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in February that the alliance plans to increase its presence in the Black Sea. He also said that NATO is concerned by the “wrongful arrest of Ukrainian sailors” in November 2018.