KIEV, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine kicked off preparations for the Sea Breeze 2019 international military exercises to be held in the Black Sea next year, the country's Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
Representatives of 11 countries attended a main preparatory conference for the drills, which co-hosted by Ukraine and the United States, the ministry said in a statement.
Apart from the hosting countries, the conference attracted envoys from Bulgaria, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Denmark, Norway, Turkey and Moldova.
Oleksiy Neyzhapa, the director of the exercises from the Ukrainian side, told the conference that the drills will be an important instrument for maintaining stability and security in the Black Sea.
The Sea Breeze exercises, which started in 1997, are an annual military event involving the NATO and its partner countries. Usually, the event includes land, naval and air drills.
More than 2,000 personnel, 30 vessels and an array of aerial vehicles from 19 countries participated in Sea Breeze 2018 held on July 9-21 this year in Ukraine's southern regions of Odessa, Mykolaiv and Kherson.