Ukraine Looks Into Beefing Up Navy With Old NATO Ships

Ihor Voronchenko
Vice Admiral Ihor Voronchenko, commander of the Ukrainian Navy, speaks during an interview with Reuters in Kiev, Ukraine, October 27, 2016. He has just proposed using old NATO ships to boost Ukraine's coastal fleet. Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

Ukraine's navy is looking into the possibility of purchasing decommissioned NATO ships in order to add to its fleet, Ukraine's Channel 5 reports.

Speaking on air, the navy's commander, Ihor Voronchenko, said that to satisfy Ukraine's role in occupying a significant portion of the Black Sea coastline, it should be better equipped to police these waters.

"Ukraine is a transit state and we are obliged as naval forces to ensure the peaceful sailing of all vessels in the Black Sea," he said. "We cannot fulfill the full spectrum of this work with only one minesweeper, Henichesk, that we obtained."

The navy received the ship in question from the Black Sea Fleet—a Crimea-based Soviet-era unit that in modern times existed under much facility-sharing between Ukraine, on whose territory the main port of the unit fell, and Russia. Henichesk was one of the handful of ships Ukraine received in the messy divorce between the two navies after Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Voronchenko said a Ukrainian naval delegation recently returned from a NATO state that he was not authorized to name, where they discussed purchasing older Western ships to fill out Ukraine's ranks.

"Several options were looked at and we decided that for the resources that we have, we will be able to buy a mine-sweeping set," he said. "The same (solution) is being worked on for acquiring ships for the coastal area."