On Sunday, January 11, The United States and Ukrainian navies conducted an at-sea naval exercise in the Black Sea. This underway engagement, known as a “passing exercise” (PASSEX), involved USS Donald Cook (DDG-75), an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, and UKRS Hetman Sahaidachny (U130), the flagship of the Ukrainian Navy. The PASSEX consisted of a series of at-sea scenarios designed to enhance maritime capabilities, including a ship-to-ship passenger transfer, division-tactic maneuvers, and a simulated asymmetric-threat defense event with a low flying helicopter from Sahaidachny.
Donald Cook’s participation in this exercise highlights the strong relationship between the U.S. and Ukrainian navies, while its presence in the Black Sea demonstrates the United States’ commitment to working closely with its partners to enhance maritime security and stability in the region. “We both got valuable training from today’s exercise that helped us better understand how [the Ukrainian navy] operates while building partnerships and enhancing theater security,” noted Lieutenant Anthony Melendez-Diaz, assistant operations officer from Donald Cook.