Ukrainian Navy - Exercises
The Ukrainian Navy was long in the process of formation, but they could perform many kinds of combat operations. They proved this by participating in mutual peacekeeping operations with NATO and other navies. In peace time, the Navy performed the mission of maintaining combat readiness and combat watch, coast guard and defense of an exlusive economic zone and fighting against terrorism at sea. Under Ukraine’s intent to join the Euro-Atlantic collective security system the Ukrainian Navy was actively involved in joint missions with foreign Navies in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. They also took part in peacekeeping operations together with navies from other countries by UN mandate.
In June 1994 the patrol ship "Getman Sagaidachnyi" visited French port Ruan. In September the trainings of the ships of the Naval Forces of Ukraine, France, Rumania in the frames of program "Partnership for Peace" in the north-western part of the Black Sea. The small anyisubmarine ship "Luck" was recognized the best one. In November 1994 the special purpose ship "Slavutich" took part in joint trainings "Maritime partner - 94".
In April 1995 the patrol ship "Getman Sagaidachnyi" made a long voyage to the shores of UAE. In July 1995 the joint Ukrainian-American peacefull trainings of the naval infantry brigade of Ukraine and the US Expeditional Naval Infantry Corps. In September 1995 the joint trainings of infantrymen and USA "Autumn allies - 95" which were on the base of the US Naval Infantry in Kemp-Lezhun, were finished. The patrol ship "Getman Sagaidachnyi" visited Bolgary. In November 1995 the patrol ship "Getman Sagaidachnyi" took part in the naval multinational trainings of NATO's countries "Classica-95" in the waterways of Italy.
During August and September 1996, near the seashores of Rumania, Ukraine took part in the international training "Classica-96" with participation of the Naval Force of Ukraine. Ships "Chernigov" and the small anti-submarine ship "Vinnica". From 20 August through 18 October 1996 the transatlantic ocean campaign of the formations of naval ships in composition with the patrol ship "Getman Sagaidachnyi" and the large amphibious ship "Konstantin Olshanskiy" with naval infantry company aboard to the US seashores.
In July 1997 the corvette "Luck" took part in the international trainings near the seashores of Bulgaria "Cooperative partner - 96" in the frames of program "Partnership for peace". And in August 1997 the joint Ukrainian-American training "Sea-Breeze-97" in the regions of the lake Donyzlav and the firing ground "Wide field".
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.
On 29 July 2012 the Ukrainian Navy and Russian Black Sea Fleet held a joint parade to honor the Navy Day of Ukraine and of Russia, and to demonstrate their combat capabilities. More than 30 ships and vessels – 11 of them from the Ukrainian Navy – along with 30 armored vehicles and three thousand troops participated in the event. A highlight was an amphibious landing, with 10 armored vehicles disembarking in the water from the Ukrainian Navy’s Kostiantyn Olshansky amphibious landing ship and naval infantry from the Ukrainian Navy and of Russian Black Sea Fleet jointly assaulting a floating dock. A Ukrainian Navy special forces unit also made a demonstration.
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.
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