Ukraine and NATO have been planning joint military exercises in the Black Sea. The run-up to the operation has been accompanied by months of grumbling from the Kremlin. Rachel Maddow jokes about sales of Pepto-Bismol in Moscow rising over this Operation Sea Breeze. (Rachel is well known to have Too Much FunTM with the news on occasion.)

Ukraine says joint NATO military exercises to begin soon

Axios, April 3, 2021

Russia, which supports separatist forces battling Ukraine’s military in the Donbass region, said Friday it strongly opposes the drills and will “have to take additional measures” if NATO deploys troops to eastern Ukraine.

Well, NATO has no such plans. This is a naval operation. Russia, on the other hand, is conducting live fire exercises in the vicinity of NATO vessers.

This is the 21st time for such joint exercises, according to U.S. Navy Lieutenant Bobby Dixon, spokesperson for Operation Sea Breeze.

US, Ukraine start joint drills in Black Sea

A large-scale military exercise involving about 30 countries, including the United States and Ukraine, has begun in the Black Sea.

Last week, Russia said its military fired warning shots at a British warship when it was sailing off Crimea. Russia said the vessel violated the country’s territorial waters.

Russia Practices Firing Missiles into Black Sea as U.S., Allies Enter It for Training

The training came shortly after the Russian Ministry of Defense announced it was tracking the movements of warships of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands as they joined the U.S. Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon and other vessels positioned in the Black Sea for Exercise Sea Breeze 2021. This year’s installation of the annual training, led by the U.S. and Ukraine, was set to feature its largest multinational gathering yet.

Russia tests Crimean air defence systems as Ukraine, U.S. hold Black Sea drills

Russia’s Black Sea fleet was cited by Interfax as saying it had deployed around 20 warplanes and helicopters, including Su-24M bombers, as well as S-400 and Pantsir surface-to-air missile systems in the readiness tests.

Moscow said one of its warships fired warning shots and a warplane dropped bombs in the path of British destroyer Defender on Wednesday to force her out of an area near the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.

Britain denied that account, insisted its ship wasn’t fired upon and said it was sailing in Ukrainian waters.

Russia denounced the Defender’s move as a provocation and warned that next time it could fire to hit intruding warships if they again try to test Russian military resolve.

Oh, you, you, shouldn’t oughta do that. Ya know, we might just have to go poke some of those rusty tin cans you got out there.

Dutch navy: Russian jets flew low over frigate in Black Sea

In April, Russia imposed restrictions on foreign naval movements near Crimea until November in a move that drew strong complaints from Ukraine and the West. Russia rejected the criticism and noted the restrictions wouldn’t interfere with commercial shipping.

Ukraine-NATO Joint Military Exercises Begin In Lviv Region

Radio Free Europe

Sep 3, 2018 — KYIV — Ukraine has begun joint military exercises with 10 NATO countries in western Ukraine amid ongoing tensions with Russia over …

US and Nato troops begin Ukraine military exercise – BBC News

Sep 15, 2014 — About 1,300 troops from 15 countries – including the US and other Nato members – have begun a military exercise near Lviv in western Ukraine.

‘We need more’ before Ukraine can join NATO, says Stoltenberg

He added: “We have different building-integrity programs, which are very much about how to fight corruption as part of the reforms … which Ukraine has already embarked on, but we need more. We need to do more with them to make sure they are fully implemented.”

On Monday, the summit ended with the release of a joint communique that reaffirmed NATO’s 2008 decision for Ukraine to become a member through a membership action plan, or MAP ― though there’s no timetable mentioned. Meanwhile, Kyiv is working to adopt NATO-mandated reforms both to strengthen it against Russian interference and move it towards membership.

On Monday, the summit ended with the release of a joint communique that reaffirmed NATO’s 2008 decision for Ukraine to become a member through a membership action plan, or MAP ― though there’s no timetable mentioned. Meanwhile, Kyiv is working to adopt NATO-mandated reforms both to strengthen it against Russian interference and move it towards membership.

See, that’s what really chaps Putin’s caviar.

On the Other Side,

Bilcik: Military drills with Russia, Belarus ‘not helpful’ for Serbia’s EU path

Serbia claims to want to join the EU, but has not been acting like it means it.

Belarus…well. That’s a Diary for another day. The election protests ended, but the economy is falling apart as tech workers leave the country in droves.

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