U.K. Transfers Two Mine-hunting Ships to Ukraine Via Export Financing

Britain to Assist Ukraine in Countering Russian Mines and Restoring Maritime Exports
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 11:03 AM, December 12, 2023
  • 760
U.K. Transfers Two Mine-hunting Ships to Ukraine Via Export Financing
Royal Navy Sandown Class minehunters

In a significant move to aid Ukraine in overcoming the impacts of the Russian blockade in the Black Sea, the United Kingdom is set to transfer two Royal Navy mine-hunting ships to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU).

The announcement was made by Defense Secretary Grant Shapps during the launch of the new Maritime Capability Coalition alongside his Norwegian counterpart.

The transfer, agreed upon through meetings of the 50-nation strong Ukraine Defence Contact Group, aims to enhance Ukraine's maritime capabilities and restore vital export routes that have been severely affected since Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion in February 2022.

"These minehunters will deliver vital capability to Ukraine, which will help save lives at sea and open up vital export routes," stated Defense Secretary Shapps.

The procurement of the two Sandown Class mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) by Ukraine is facilitated through UK Export Finance.

Ukraine's ability to move exports by sea has been hampered by Putin's blockade of the Black Sea, impacting the nation's economy. Strengthening the AFU's maritime capabilities, particularly in countering the threat from Russian sea mines, is seen as crucial to restoring Ukraine's maritime exports.

The newly launched Maritime Capability Coalition, led by the UK and Norway, will provide long-term support to Ukraine, including training, equipment, and infrastructure to bolster security in the Black Sea. The coalition aims to transform Ukraine's navy, making it more compatible with western allies and interoperable with NATO.

Defense Secretary Shapps emphasized, "This capability boost marks the beginning of a new dedicated effort by the UK, Norway, and our allies to strengthen Ukraine’s maritime capabilities over the long term."

Norwegian Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram expressed the importance of supporting Ukraine in developing its navy, stating, "Our goal is to contribute to building a lasting Ukrainian naval capability."

The Maritime Capability Coalition will work closely with the Ukrainian Navy and Ministry of Defence to develop various capabilities, including the rapid development of a maritime force in the Black Sea, the continued development of a Ukrainian Marine Corps, and river patrol craft to defend coastal and inland waterways.

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