Nukewatch Quarterly Spring 2022
By John LaForge
The U.S. Navy constructed a $750,000 command center for Ukraine at its Ochakov Naval Base on the Black Sea Coast near Odessa. Work began July 25, 2017 and was done by the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) First Mobile Construction Battalion — known as Seabees — as part of the Foreign Military Construction Sales program authorized by the Arms Export Control Act. According to the August 15, 2017 Naval Institute News (NIN), “The center will serve as [a] major planning and operational hub, conducting command and control of Black Sea-region maritime assets during Sea Breeze, the annual joint U.S. and Ukrainian military exercise.” USMC Lt. Jason McGee said in a written statement: “Our ability to maximize European reassurance initiatives in Ukraine holds strategic importance….”, NIN reported.
Stars and Stripes reported July 12, 2018 that the summer’s annual military exercise “was to increase combat effectiveness and demonstrate resolve among the 19 allied and partner nations participating in the training known as Exercise Sea Breeze, now in its 18th iteration.” In response, Moscow warned that the multinational maritime exercise represented “playing with fire” in the Black Sea area, Stars and Stripes said. The naval command base “will assist Ukraine’s ability to coordinate activities with allies operating in the Black Sea,” NIN said.
In related news, four Marines died March 18, when their V22-Osprey helicopter crashed in Norway during the massive U.S.-led NATO military rehearsal known as Cold Response. About 30,000 troops from 27 countries are involved in the exercise that lasts through April and is one of the largest NATO war games of its kind since the end of the Cold War.