In a press release issued on Thursday, Ukrainian Navy Forces said  France’s Aquitaine-class frigate Auvergne that entered the Black Sea on December 13, joined Ukraine’s landing ship Yuriy Olefirenko for a training focused on ‘improving the interoperability and coherence of their naval crews’.

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The ships’ maneuvers also included training of night signal production and control operations in areas of intensive shipping.

The two ships also staged assistance to vessel-in-distress training session with the French relief crew boarding ‘Yuriy Olefirenko’.

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The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said the exercise was aimed at providing security in the Black Sea region and training of better coordination efforts of the two countries’ crews under NATO standards.

Ukraine holds PASSEX naval drills in the Black Sea periodically with NATO members and partner countries to bring the level of its naval forces closer to the alliance’s standards. In June 2020, Ukraine was granted the status of a partner in the NATO Enhanced Opportunities Program.