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Ukraine special ops development continues

28th July 2017 - 15:59 by Andrew White in London

Ukraine special ops development continues

Force elements from Ukraine’s Special Operations Command have completed a joint training programme with the US Naval Special Warfare Command in the Black Sea as the organisation continues to develop its capabilities since its establishment in 2015.

Conducted close to Odessa, the exercise ran from 10-21 July and involved maritime and land Special Forces personnel from Ukraine working in close cooperation with US Navy SEAL (Sea, Air and Land) platoons.

Exercise Sea Breeze was co-organised by the US Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) and Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) and followed high-level meetings of Ukrainian Navy Commander, VAdm Ihor Voronchenko, US Navy and Department of Defense (DoD) officials in the US just days before, aimed at establishing increased levels of bilateral collaboration in the future.

Describing the main effort of the exercise to Shephard, service officials associated with the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) highlighted how training serials focused on the execution of joint operations in air, land and sea environments.

Exercising troops conducted a mix of intelligence gathering, direct action and counter-terrorism (CT) serials with support from the US Air Force’s 352nd Special Operations Wing which operates CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

Air frames were used to insert and recover assault teams across training areas, including fast-rope rappelling onto target vessels in the Black Sea as part of wider Personnel Recovery (PR) scenarios.

Ukrainian and US operators were fully integrated into assault teams during the exercise with one official stating that the exercise ‘is a perfect fit for special operations forces to train and exercise their capabilities’.

Assault teams also conducted military freefall insertions and launched surface operations including visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) from rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs), supported by the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Carney.

Another source described how the exercise had increased interoperability between participating force elements, with participating troops operating under the command and control of a Special Operations Maritime Task Group.

‘We have combined with our Ukrainian colleagues to integrate their experience and capabilities within our key positions. Starting in the command team and further within our operations, communications, logistics, and intelligence departments, we were fully partnered,’ SOCEUR officials concluded.

Ukraine’s Special Operations Command comprises maritime units including the 140th Special Purpose Centre and 801st Anti-Diversionary Detachment; with land units incorporating the 3rd, 8th and 10th Detached Spetsnaz Regiments.

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