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Ships of NATO’s SNMG2 Exercise With Allies in Black Sea

NATO ships of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) began a deployment to the Black Sea earlier this month to train with Bulgarian, Romanian, and Turkish navy units, according to a NATO release.

The training is taking place in international waters and will include anti-air warfare and anti-submarine warfare exercises, simulated small boat attacks, and basic ship handling underway.

“The training and exercises we will conduct with our Allies in the Black Sea prepares us to undertake any mission NATO might require to meet its obligations for collective defense,” said SNMG2 Commander Rear Adm. Brad Williamson, U.S. Navy, in a NATO release. The training is taking place in international waters and will include anti-air warfare and anti-submarine warfare exercises, simulated small boat attacks, and basic ship handling underway.

Turgutreis

The Turkish navy frigate TCG Turgutreis (F 241), assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) underway in the Adriatic Sea during exercises. Turgutreis and SNMG2 are currently deployed to the Black Sea for exercises with allies. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda S. Kitchner

SNMG2’s current flagship is the U.S. Navy cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG 69), and the group includes the Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate HMCS Fredericton (FFH 337), Turkish navy Yavuz-class (MEKO 200TN) frigate TCG Turgutreis (F 241), the German navy Röhn-class tanker FGS Spessart (A 1442), the Italian navy Maestrale-class frigate ITS Aliseo (F 574), and the Romanian navy frigate ROS Regina Maria (F 222), formerly the Royal Navy Type 22 frigate HMS London.

“The deployment of SNMG2 into the Black Sea is conducted in full compliance with international conventions as a scheduled visit in support of training as well as the assurance of Black Sea Allies,” according to the NATO release.

HMCS Fredericton

A rigid-hull inflatable boat from the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) flagship guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG 69) departs HMCS Fredericton (FFH 337) during a sailor exchange between the ships. Sailors from SNMG2 ships were given an opportunity to spend time on a different allied ship, experiencing Navy life aboard. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda S. Kitchner

Russia, which invaded its neighbor Georgia in 2008, invaded Ukraine in 2014, and has repeatedly violated the airspace of European and other allies over the past few years with strategic bombers and strike aircraft, complained bitterly of the “aggressive war games.”

Regina Maria

The Romanian Navy frigate Regina Maria (F222) underway in August 2014 during the annual Romanian Navy Day celebration in Constanta. Regina Maria is exercising in the Black Sea as a unit of SNMG2.  U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Weston Jones

The group has made port visits in Varna, Bulgaria, and Constanta, Romania, where SNMG2 leadership has met with local authorities and navy officials to “discuss numerous issues of shared importance” with these NATO allies of more than a decade. Bulgaria and Romania became NATO members on March 29, 2004, along with Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Such are the fears of Russian invasion that Lithuania’s government is considering a return to conscription.