Operation “Sea Breeze”: How US Marines ‘Studied’ Russian in Crimea in 2006

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May 24, 2016

Blogger Mikhail Sinelnikov-Orishak (@sine-or in Live Journal)

Translated by Kristina Kharlova

In my personal archive I found a photo from the era when Crimea was still Ukrainian:

“From May 27 to June 22 2006 here was held a protest by citizens of Ukraine and Feodosia against the exercises and deployment of NATO forces in Crimea. With gratitude to Feodosians for their civil courage from deputies of 5th City Council”

For those who didn’t know or tried to forget – I will remind: on May 27, 2006 the American ship “Advantage” came into the port of Feodosia where it unloaded several dozen containers with firearms, equipment and construction materials for military exercises “Sea Breeze-2006.”

Immediately began protests of Crimean residents against the presence of NATO troops: rallies, tent cities, peace marches. The tension has boiled to a point when more than 200 US Marines had to be hastily evacuated from the sanatorium of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine near Alushta, where they, as it turns out, have been “studying Russian language”. At least, so said the representatives of the administration of then-President Yushchenko. In the end, the US State Department and the Pentagon have issued a joint statement on suspension of Sea Breeze-2006 due to a crisis … in the Middle East.

It should be noted that such NATO exercises were held in the Black sea 5 (!) times since 1997, and 4 of them in the territorial waters of Ukraine. Why did “Sea Breeze-2006” become a “stumbling block”?

Any military exercise initially has a script according to which further events must unfold. At the time, it went as follows:

Some “Runo peninsula”, formerly part of the country of Sapphire, with a thriving “regime”, hostile to NATO, comes under the jurisdiction of a “democratic state” of Emerald. Thus, the peninsula with all the familiar city names of Evpatoria, Sevastopol, Simferopol gains “political independence”, which Sapphire cannot accept and creates an IRM – “Independent Runo Movement”.
International community for a while ignores sabotage, murders of foreign citizens, committed by IRM. But ‘separatists’ commit a raid on a local university and take hostage a large group of students – citizens of countries-NATO members, and in Simferopol at the same time break out rallies and demonstrations demanding restoration of the previous status of the peninsula as a province of Sapphire. The government of Emerald appeals for help to the United Nations, and the UN gives NATO the permission to conduct the operation to free the hostages, for the establishment of peace and stability “in the Northern part of the Black sea”. 

This legend was published in the media which finally infuriated the residents of “Runo Peninsula”. On June 24 2006 all American experts and military equipment finally left the “inhospitable” Crimea aboard a Ukrainian merchant vessel “Anatoly Kolesnichenko”. 

P. S. As an expert comment from an interview with ex-NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on the Ukrainian TV channel “Inter” on August 7, 2014: “What a ridiculous accusation, NATO never intended to establish military bases in Ukraine…”

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