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07KYIV1916, UKRAINE: NATO SEA BREEZE EXERCISE AN “UNQUALIFIED

August 6, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV1916 2007-08-06 13:02 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO2425
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #1916/01 2181302
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 061302Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3287
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 001916 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/06/2017 
TAGS: PGOV UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: NATO SEA BREEZE EXERCISE AN "UNQUALIFIED 
SUCCESS" 
 
Classified By: Ambassador, reason 1.4 (b,d) 
 
1. (C) Summary: Sea Breeze 2007, the largest ever 
multinational exercise in the Black Sea, concluded July 22. 
Over two weeks, exercise participants from 13 NATO PfP member 
countries enhanced interoperability through peacekeeping 
operations, search and rescue, and communications training. 
Despite Communist and Socialist party opposition to 
legislation authorizing foreign troops to enter Ukraine for 
Sea Breeze passed in late May, their efforts to disrupt the 
exercise were unsuccessful.  Protesters demonstrated outside 
of training facilities throughout the two week exercise, but 
national and local authorities anticipated force protection 
needs and were prepared to provide support as needed.  Six US 
personnel were injured in an unrelated attack by street 
hooligans, however, an investigation determined that it was 
not/not anti-US or anti US Navy. 
 
2. (C) Comment: Beyond enjoying some of the obvious economic 
benefits of hosting the exercise, Odesa's citizens were by 
and large uninterested in Sea Breeze; protests were 
unenthusiastic, and efforts to politicize the exercise were 
ineffective.  However, Sea Breeze generated significant 
positive media attention, including television, radio, and 
print coverage of the opening ceremony and press conference. 
Journalists presented accurate information on the 
multinational nature of the exercise.  Some media covered the 
small scale demonstrations, usually in a balanced fashion. 
This year's exercise stood in stark contrast to Sea Breeze 
2006 due to the President's and Prime Minister's agreement to 
enact the necessary legislation and support for holding the 
exercise, to the satisfaction of Ukrainian Defense Minister 
Hrytsenko, who stressed to the Ambassador and embassy 
officers on numerous occasions the training value of the 
exercise and the exercise's importance in supporting his 
ongoing reform efforts at the Ministry of Defense.  By all 
accounts, Sea Breeze 2007 was an unqualified success.  End 
Summary and Comment. 
 
A Successful Training Exercise 
------------------------------ 
 
3. (SBU) Sea Breeze 2007, the largest multinational exercise 
in the Black Sea, concluded July 22.  Approximately 2,500 
soldiers and 23 ships (including the guided missile destroyer 
USS DONALD COOK) from 13 countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, 
Canada, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Macedonia, Moldova, 
Romania, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States) participated 
in the two week program.  The exercise, conducted in the 
spirit of NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) program, aimed to 
improve interoperability of military forces.  The objectives 
included training on peace keeping operations, search and 
rescue, and communications. 
 
4. (SBU) Sea Breeze participants completed 197 training tasks 
on sea, land, and in the air.  These included boarding, 
diving, mine sweeping, ship maneuvers, convoy and urban 
operations, check point management, amphibious raids, and air 
defense.  Pilots logged 138 flight hours, with 52 sorties, 
and supported 152 parachute jumps. 
 
5. (SBU) While some ships experienced technical 
communications problems, commanders noted the success in 
working in a wide variety of languages.  They also lauded the 
focus on safety and professionalism of officers and crews, 
and noted the successful accomplishment of objectives.  The 
exercise directors emphasized during the closing ceremony and 
to the press that Sea Breeze 2007 met its primary aim of 
enhancing partnership among the participants. 
 
National and Local Support 
-------------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) Unlike Sea Breeze 2006, which generated mass 
protests in Crimea and was eventually canceled due to US 
operational requirements off the coast of Lebanon, this 
year's exercise received notable support from the government 
and opposition, both nationally and locally.  Although the 
Socialist and Communist parties voted against legislation 
required to allow foreign troops on to Ukrainian territory, 
President Yushchenko and his reform-oriented Defense Minister 
obtained Party of Regions support and Rada authorization on 
May 29 (as part of a wider settlement to an unrelated 
political deadlock).  Without the contentious and politicized 
atmosphere engendered by the aftermath of the 2006 
Parliamentary elections -- and the subsequent five-month 
struggle to form a government, Prime Minister Yanukovych 
noted that Sea Breeze 2007 was necessary to help develop 
Ukraine's armed forces, help protect the Black Sea region, 
and fight terrorism. 
 
 
KYIV 00001916  002 OF 002 
 
 
7. (SBU) At the local level, Odesa Governor Plachkov and 
Mayor Gurvits were also strong public supporters of Sea 
Breeze.  Both attended the opening ceremony.  The Governor's 
office praised participants for completing the exercise in 
light of the political situation in the country and extolled 
the partnerships enhanced by the activity.  The Mayor's 
office, in addition to assisting with force protection 
concerns, in an overzealous display of commitment to holding 
a successful exercise, even went so far as to file suit i
n 
district court that resulted in a ban on all anti-NATO 
demonstrations inside the city limits (a ruling ignored by 
both demonstrators and police). 
 
8. (SBU) The Government of Ukraine (GOU) demonstrated serious 
concern and initiative in providing adequate force protection 
planning and resources for Sea Breeze.  Interagency meetings 
held in advance of the exercise included high level 
representatives from the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of the 
Interior, General Staff, Customs Service, Coast Guard and, 
State Security Service (SBU).  The GOU ensured safe transit 
for personnel and equipment, met several times with protest 
organizers to ensure compliance with the law, and assigned 
700 police officers to areas of concern.  The police presence 
outnumbered protesters, usually by more than double. 
Comment: It should be noted that US Embassy's DAO, RAO, and 
RSO offices pushed the Ukrainian interagency throughout the 
process to ensure proper force protection measures were in 
place in time for the exercise.  End Comment. 
 
9. (C) While the GOU's force protection measures were 
adequate and helped ensure the exercise was a success, six 
crew members from the USS DONALD COOK were attacked and 
injured during liberty leave from the ship.  The 
confrontation occurred in the downtown area after a soccer 
match and involved 15 to 20 young men (believed to be soccer 
hooligans) who attacked the US Navy (USN) personnel for no 
apparent reason.  The assailants fled after learning that the 
victims were USN members.  An investigation determined that 
the incident was more than likely not anti-American or 
anti-USN and unrelated to the ongoing exercise.  During this 
time, groups of soccer hooligans were running around central 
Odesa, conducting random acts of violence.  This incident 
appears to be a case of US personnel who happened to be in 
the wrong place at the wrong time. 
 
Protests - Small, Controlled, Negligible Impact 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
10. (SBU) Notwithstanding the energetic declarations by 
anti-NATO organizers that 100,000 protesters would descend on 
Odesa to disrupt Sea Breeze, demonstrations never reached 
more than several hundred people at any given time. 
Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko, Progressive Socialist 
Party of Ukraine leader Natalia Vitrenko, and Union of 
Orthodox Citizens of Ukraine leader Valeriy Kaurov joined 
rallies and grabbed a few headlines, but the usually 
unenthusiastic crowds dispersed quickly.  According to 
several accounts, demonstrations tended to last less than an 
hour and protesters started to leave as soon as media 
coverage ended. 
 
11. (SBU) In most cases, protesters simply ignored the local 
Prymorsky Court ruling that banned demonstrations.  Symonenko 
and NGO leaders expressed concern that the Mayor's suit was 
unconstitutional and anti-democratic.  The Mayor's office 
noted that the intent was not to ban demonstrations outright, 
but to control the manner in which they were to be conducted. 
 In particular, the Mayor opposed the use of tent cities. 
The court found in the Mayor's favor because protesters had 
not requested permits, as required by the law. 
 
12. (SBU) Protesters, usually in very small numbers, 
congregated at the Odesa Sea Terminal, on the Potemkin Steps, 
outside the Odesa Officer's Club, and near the front gate of 
the Sherokiy Lan training range where the exercise land 
component was conducted.  Their presence required additional 
force movement planning, and occasional rerouting of 
personnel or equipment.  In addition, a Symonenko-led rally 
blocked the entrance to the Ukrainian Navy Headquarters, 
causing planners to reschedule a medical/damage control 
drill.  However, in spite of these minor disruptions, the 
protesters had an inconsequential effect on Sea Breeze 2007 
and the exercise, as described by co-director Captain Chip 
Walter, was "an unqualified success." 
 
13. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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