By John Ensor •
Published: 11 Dec 2023 • 16:19
UK lead the Maritime Capability Coalition.
It was announced today that the United Kingdom, in collaboration with Norway, is spearheading a new Maritime Capability Coalition.
The initiative will significantly empower the Ukrainian Navy by transferring two Royal Navy minehunter vessels.
Announced on Monday, December 11, in London, the procurement of two Sandown Class mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) by Ukraine marks a significant step in maritime defence.
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, together with his Norwegian counterpart, unveiled this acquisition, which is part of a broader support strategy for Ukraine, according to a press report from UK Gov.
The Black Sea region’s security is set to be reinforced by the new coalition’s commitment. Shapps emphasized, ‘These minehunters will deliver vital capability to Ukraine which will help save lives at sea and open up vital export routes, which have been severely limited since Putin launched his illegal full-scale invasion.’
This strategic move also aims to enhance Ukraine’s operational compatibility with Western allies and NATO interoperability.
The blockade by Putin in the Black Sea has adversely affected Ukraine’s economy, particularly its maritime exports. The addition of these vessels will be pivotal in countering Russian sea mines, thus rejuvenating Ukraine’s maritime trade routes.
This effort is in line with the UK Foreign Secretary’s recent visit to Ukraine, where the ‘Unity Facility’ initiative was launched, offering affordable shipping insurance for grain and other essential supplies from Ukraine.
Norwegian Defence Minister Bjorn Arild Gram noted, ‘The defence of Ukraine is important for Euro-Atlantic security. Now The United Kingdom, Norway and other countries will support Ukraine in developing their navy.’
The coalition plans to develop various naval capabilities, including a rapid maritime force in the Black Sea, a Ukrainian Marine Corps, and river patrol craft.
This strategy aligns with the objectives of the 50-nation strong Ukraine Defence Contact Group. The UK and Norway, along with other international partners, have been instrumental in training hundreds of Ukrainian marines, a commitment they plan to expand upon.
The Prime Minister and Defence Secretary have reiterated the UK’s unwavering support for Ukraine, allocating £4.6bn in military support since the onset of Putin’s full-scale invasion and training over 52,000 Ukrainian troops since Russia’s initial Crimea incursion in 2014.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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