The host of one of Russia’s main fleets until the secession of Crimea, calling Ukraine’s own navy a mess would be an understatement. Built around aging Soviet hand-me-downs, the ships they did have largely defected along with Crimea.
Indeed, while they have some small attack boats and the like, it would be fair to classify Ukraine’s entire “navy” as one ship, the Hetman Sahaydachnyy, their flagship, which is in the process of being repaired and refitted. Even this ship is just a frigate, but apart from coastal patrol boats and tug boats, it is what’s left.
Ukrainian Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ihor Voronchenko is playing up the repairs and upgrades to their ship as the beginning of a major increase in capacity which will allow them to “counter Russia” in the Black Sea. The US is bankrolling part of this effort with $30 million in aid.
By contrast, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet includes four Frigates, a guided missile destroyer, and an even larger guided missile cruiser, the Moskva, which is roughly four times the size of Ukraine’s ship. Beyond that, Russia has half a dozen submarines in the Black Sea, along with the usual smaller boats.
NATO in general and the US in particular have talked up their desire to counter Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, but the Ukrainian Navy seems far from a realistic counter in and of itself, and the US funding appears primarily aimed at buying more influence with the Ukrainian government than at trying to develop their ship as a serious fighting force.
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