The Navy of Ukraine is designated to defeat enemy forces and infrastructure and assist the Ground Forces in conducting operations in littoral regions. The Navy consists of the following branches: Surface Forces, Subma-rine Forces, Naval Aviation, Coastal Missile-Artillery Troops, Marines, as well as special formations and units, logistic and medical support units and military educational and scientific establishments. The main purpose of the Navy reform and development is the establishment of mission ready, structurally balanced component of the Armed Forces, equipped with state-of-the-art naval weapons, capable of accomplishing missions in assigned operational areas independently and jointly with other armed forces branches.
Maritime Border formations and units will be transferred to the Navy. And consequently the mission of maintaining Ukrainian border integrity at sea and protection of its exclusive (economic) area will belong to the Navy.
Today's Ukrainian Navy is still in the process of formation, but they can already perform many kinds of combat operations. They have proved this by participating in mutual peacekeeping operations with NATO and other navies. As is necessary for a modern state, Ukraine has all the navy branches: surface and submarine forces; coastal defence troops; marine corps; Special forces and support units. The Ukrainian Navy has about 100 ships off different types. Ukrainian naval bases are : Odessa; Ochakov; Chernomorskoe; Novoozernii and Feodosiya. The main base of the Ukrainian Navy is Sevastopol.
In peace time, the Navy performs the mission of maintaining combat readiness and combat watch, coast guard and defense of an exlusive economic zone and fighting against terrorism at sea. They also take part in peacekeeping operations together with navies from other countries by UN mandate;
Naval Patrol Ship 112 became the first ship of the Ukrainian Navy and on July 20, 1992, it gallantly sailed from Donuzlav to Odessa. On July 28, 1992, the Ukrainian naval ensign was hoisted on the command-and-control ship "Slavutych", which had just been built at the Mykolaiv shipyards. In April 1993 the Ukrainian Navy received an amphiboius landing ship (air-cushioned) "Donetsk". In June of 1993 a small antisubmarine ship (corvette) "Lutsk" was launched and began shipyard trials. And in July the Ukrainian naval ensign was hoisted on the patrol ship (frigate) "Hetman Sahaidachnyi". Simultaneously with establishing strong surface force, the Ukrainian Navy had been establishing and developing the coastal defense and shore units, naval infantry (marines) and naval air units. Some of those assets had been transferred to the Ukrainian Navy according to the agreements on the Black Sea Fleet.
The Ukrainian Navy is an integral structural component of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The Ukrainian Navy consists of groups and divisions of surface naval warfare, aviation and coastal units, command and control, support and logistics. The crucial missions to support the established status quo naval regime in the Black Sea are carried out by the Western and Northern Maritime Regions of the Ukrainian Navy. Ukrainian naval aviators are all ready to execute missions round the clock under all-weather conditions. Ukrainian naval surface force sailors represent our country with dignity and honor in foreign nations around the world during long patrols, friendly port calls and multinational naval excercises. The high level of readiness is maintained by the coastal artillery and missile units of the Ukrainian Navy.
Sebastopol Navy Institute was established on the base of two Sebastopol Naval Colleges in accordance with the order of Defence Minister of Ukrain N133,25.07.92 and Resolution of Ministers Cabinet of Ukraine N 490 ,19.08.92. The main goal of Navy Institute is to provide for the citizens of Ukraine and other countries the availabelity of getting the high education according to state level requirement set up by the law "About education".
The main tasks of Navy Institute are: organizing the enlightenment activity including teaching, nurturing, scientific, methodical and cultural work harmonical developing of personalities of student and naval cadets; constant increasing the level of training due to inculcation of advanced technologies, educational methods; organizing and condacting the researches to solve the military and economy problems and to develop officer's training; training the students for scietific activity on their own; training the faculty,developing their proficiency, conducting the refresher training for high educated military specialist; logistic, maintenance and methodical service for training. Sebastopol Navy Institute provides the training for different skill profiency levels that makes the Institute the center of specialized skill proficiency training for Navy of Ukraine.
Decision of the Council for National Security and Defence “On Measures to provide for Development of Ukraine as a Naval State” [? 463/2008 of 20 May 2008] caused the intensification of development of the Naval Forces. The main document to determine the provisions for creating Special Operations Forces was the Programme of Development of Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces. Under Ukraine’s intent to join the Euro-Atlantic collective security system the Ukrainian Navy is already actively involved in joint missions with foreign Navies in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.
Sea Breeze exercises had been held annually in the Crimea since 1997, and had been subject to occasionally violent anti-NATO protests in recent years. The Sea Breeze 2006 exercise in the Crimea was obstructed by protests, forcing the United States to redeploy the Advantage cargo ship to another location. The Sea Breeze 2007 was held in the Odessa and Nikolayev regions, amid protests by local left-wing political groups. In 2008 the Sea Breeze drills saw protesters set up camps along the Black Sea coast, and reportedly attempt to prevent foreign warships, participating in the exercises, from leaving the port of Odessa.
Ukraine's pro-Western leadership had been pursuing NATO membership since 2004, when President Viktor Yushchenko came to power. Ukraine failed to secure a place in the NATO Membership Action Plan, a key step toward joining the alliance, at a NATO summit in April 2008. There was no Sea Breeze naval exercises with NATO forces in Ukraine's Crimea in 2009. A military exercise with the participation of foreign troops requires parliamentary permission, but the Ukrainian parliament refused to even consider the matter. Sea Breeze-2009 was due to be conducted in July.
In April and August 2011, two vessels of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Navy took part in the activities of the Joint Group Black Sea Naval Cooperation BLACKSEAFOR. In April the command and control ship “Slavutych” travelled over 1860 sea-miles, and the crew conducted 25 ship exercises and 52 ship combat exercises. As a part of an international formation the ship took part in tactical exercises and training. In August, the sea mine-sweeper “Cherkasy” participated in search and rescue and humanitarian tasks.
The Government reviewed the conceptual documents of materiel development of the Armed Forces for the long term, and adopted the program to create a multifunctional missile system and the construction of ship class “Corvette” for the Naval Force1. The solemn naming ceremony of the first ship “Volodymyr Velykyj” was conducted with the participation of the President of Ukraine on 17 May 2011. During the year 2011 the technical readiness of 5 ships was ensured (command ship “Slavutych”, missile corvette “Prydniprovya”, anti-submarine corvette “Ternopil”, medium landing ship “Kirovograd”, rescue tug boat “Kremenec”). The repair of the submarine “Zaporizhzhia” continued.
Ukraine’s only submarine, the Zaporozhye, underwent first-stage sea trials including running submerged on 19 July 2012 after undergoing a major refit. The boat was submerged in the Black Sea for the first time in 18 years during the trial, Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Yury Ilyin said. Surface tests of the submarine’s power plant and other key equipment were held in April. A Soviet-era Foxtrot class (Project 641) diesel-electric submarine, Zaporozhye was laid up at a dock in Sevastopol for years before its refit. Russian engineers repaired and serviced the submarine and a new crew of Ukrainian submariners was trained at Russian naval bases. Though the submarine was built 40 years ago, it has been upgraded with new equipment. Russia, Bulgaria, and Romania also have submarines based in the Black Sea.
The situation in Ukraine's Navy has been shaped for years – the degradation of the fleet, miniscule salaries of the officers, practical lack of combat training – all that served as a strong demoralizing factor, which was intensified by the fact that Russia's Black Sea Fleet in general was in better shape even in the most difficult years. And with the increase of officers' pay in 2011-12, the situation changed even more radically: Ukrainian captains were paid less than a Russian petty officer or contract sergeant, which did not stimulate their desire to defend Ukrainian sovereignty without sparing themselves.
NATO welcomed Ukraine’s decision on 22 February 2013 to join its counter-piracy operation Ocean Shield, while Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Ukraine’s NATO membership was on track, but warned there was concern about Ukraine's use of "selective justice." The secretary general and Ukrainian Defense Minister Pavlo Lebedev signed an exchange of letters confirming Ukraine’s intent to contribute a frigate and helicopter to NATO’s operation Ocean Shield, which fights piracy off the coast of Somalia. Ukraine contributed the frigate Hetman Sahaydachniy, the flagship of the Ukrainian Navy. Russia joined the international anti-piracy mission in the region in 2008.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych reviewed a joint naval parade devoted to Navy Day, 28 July 2013. Putin arrived in Sevastopol after taking part in festivities in Kiev celebrating the 1025th anniversary of Kievan Rus, the medieval state that comprised parts of what is now Russia and Ukraine. Russia’s Black Sea is stationed in Sevastopol, Crimea, which is now part of Ukraine. Before attending the naval parade involving 14 warships from each side, Putin and Yanukovych laid flowers at the memorial to the defenders of Sevastopol, which saw fierce fighting between Soviet and Nazi German forces during World War II.
During the parade, Putin congratulated Russian and Ukrainian navy sailors and veterans with Russia’s Navy and Ukraine’s Fleet Day, saying “valor, honor, faithful military service and adherence to combat traditions have been invariably inherent in sailors and are passed over from generation to generation.” Russia and Ukraine are united by the Slavic roots and the language, culture and religion, Putin said. “Our blood and spiritual ties are inseparable.” Yanukovych said interaction between the two navies demonstrated strategic partnership between Russia and Ukraine. “We develop partnership relations, hold joint [military] exercises, together celebrate festivities and together commemorate our antecedents,” Yanukovych said.
Protests in Kyiv began on 21 November 2013, following the Government of Ukraine’s announcement that it was suspending preparations to sign an association agreement with the European Union. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych sacked the head of the armed forces, Col. Gen. Volodymyr Zamana, his press service announced 19 February 2014. The reason for the dismissal was not immediately clear, but Zamana was quoted by the AFP news agency earlier in the month as saying that "no-one has the right to use the armed forces to limit the rights of citizens." Yanukovych appointed Adm. Yuriy Ilyin, previously the head of the Ukrainian navy, as the new chief of the armed forces. Admiral Ilyin remained the Naval commander.
Following the agreement on the Ukrainian crisis settlement reached between head of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition on 21 February 2014, the incumbent government disintegrated.
On 27 February 2014 Admiral Ilyin was hospitalized for a heart attack. According to the existing information, prior to that he talked to Alexey Chalyi, the mayor of Sevastopol elected by the people. Ilyin was going to demand Chalyi's resignation, but did not achieve anything. On March 1, Denis Berezovsky was appointed commander of the Navy of Ukraine and the next day he switched sides to join the autonomy's authorities. After Berezovsky a number of officers "left" Ukraine's Navy, thus, practically paralyzing this branch of the Armed Forces. The reasons for the defection of the Ukrainian naval officers are still to be investigated in detail, but the general situation is pretty clear. Berezovsky was appointed head of Ukraine’s national navy on March 1, after he swore allegiance to the region.
The Crimean government said that some 10 warships from the Ukrainian navy left their naval base in Sevastopol apparently on orders from Kiev. Ukraine’s autonomous region of Crimea claimed that the majority of Ukrainian military units stationed on the Crimean peninsula had expressed their support of Pro-Russian authorities. Reports by Russian media about peaceful takeover of the military units by forces loyal to the Crimean government were denied by the Ukrainian defense ministry.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense announced on 05 March 2013 that "The situation in military units, formations and ships of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is stable but still intense. The Ukrainian ships are blocked in Sevastopol and Streletska Bays. During night, they were in combat alert. The units of coastal troops and marines spent night following the same scenario: psychological pressure, attempt of forced capture, different provocations. But all these attempts were prevented and neutralized. The personnel do not take the proposals of ‘high salaries’ and ‘social bonuses’ in exchange of their defection to the ‘new Crimean authorities’; they owe allegiance to Ukraine and the Ukrainian People."
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