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Ukrainian Navy History

The Ukrainian navy has a history of over a thousand years. Historical sources have well established that Kievan princes had carried out successful naval campaigns against Byzantium, Khazaria, Volga Bulgaria. And the ancient name of the Black Sea - Ruthenian - is yet another indicator that the country of the ancient ancestors, Kievan Rus', ruled the waves of that sea. In the centuries during and following the Middle Ages the name of Ukraine had been glorified by the victorious naval campaigns of such Cossack Hetmans of the Zaporizhian Sich as Baida Vyshnevetsky, Samiylo Kishka, Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny.

During the Crimean War (1853-1856) the squadron under the command of Admiral Nakhimov, himself a descendant of the Cossacks from Zaporizhya, won a brilliant victory at the battle of Sinop. The unfaded honor, valor and glory were earned by such defenders of Sevastopol as, for example, sailor Ihnatiy Shevchenko who used his own body to protect lieutenant Birilev from the enemy's bullet; or the legendary sailor Petro Kishka who received numerous decorations for his courage, gallantry and ingenuity in combat... The names of Ivan Holubets, Ludmyla Pavlychenko, Vasyl Tsybulko, Volodymyr Pylypenko and many hundreds upon hundreds of other World War II heroes were inscribed in gold into the pages of naval history. To build the national Navy is one of the most important missions of the country.

In September 1991 at Sevastopol the Union of Ukrainian officers was organised with initiative of major V.V. Kholoduk, captain-liatenant I.O. Tenukha, M.P. Guk. This union become the initiator and nucleus of organization group of the Navy of Ukraine. On 05 April 1992 the edikt of the president of Ukraine about the formation of the Naval Forces was published. In Hune the Press Center of the Naval Forces of Ukraine was established. The first edition of the newspaper "The Fleet of Ukrain" was created.

Conditions for the creation of the present-day Ukrainian Navy emerged only in early 1992. It was then that the nation-conscious part of the Black Sea Fleet personnel had begun to swear allegeance to the people of Ukraine. During the period from January 13 to April 7, 1992, the Ukrainian oath was taken by the personnel of the Training Company at the Naval Diving School, 17th Patrol Ships Brigade of the Naval Station Crimea, the 880th Detached Battalion of the Naval Infantry (Marines) Brigade, crews of cruiser "Kutuzov", minesweeper "Syhnalschyk", submarine B-371, Naval Station Crimea under the command of officers Kluyev, Shalyt, Rozhmanov, Shishov, Salimanov, Lupakov, Petrenko. The dedicated and efficient work for the establishment and further development of the Ukrainian Navy began after Rear-Admiral Borys B. Kozhyn was appointed the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Navy.

The dispute over the fleet began on April 5, 1992 when Ukraine's President Leonid Kravchuk signed a decree on urgent measures to build up the Ukrainian armed forces. The decree put the former Soviet Black Sea Fleet under Kiev's control, and all its forces deployed on Ukrainian territory (practically the entire fleet) were to become Ukraine's naval forces. Kiev had no right to make such a decision. Much diplomatic haggling followed, with Kiev trying to persuade the sailors to swear an oath to Ukraine, make the fleet Ukrainian and confront Moscow with this fact.

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 21 July 1992 the 112th brigade of patrol ship of the Crimea's naval base (the captaine of the ship - S.Nastenko) left the base "Donyslav", and lifted the National Flag of Ukraine and made depth voyage 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.

On April 15, 1994, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement on the gradual resolution of the issue. Russia was to get 80% to 85% of all ships and vessels of the fleet. After years of public posturing, stalemate, and stop-&-go diplomatic negotiations, Ukraine and Russia reached an agreement, signed by Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin on May 28, 1997. While it was expected that Russian President Boris Yeltsin would sign the Russian-Ukrainian Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership, few senior Ukrainian officials believed that a separate BSF agreement could be reached. It was also surprising that Moscow had accepted conditions similar to those it had rejected in October, 1996.

New regulations for the movement of ships from Russia's Black Sea Fleet out of Ukrainian waters will only come into force after bilateral talks, the Ukrainian parliamentary speaker said 15 August 2008. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko signed a decree Wednesday stating that Russia was required to notify the Ukrainian authorities of all movements by naval vessels and aircraft from its Crimea-based Black Sea Fleet. "In any case, we have discussed with [Russian Foreign Minister] Sergei Lavrov the need to hold Russian-Ukrainian consultations, including a meeting of the sub-commission on the Black Sea Fleet, so that new regulations can be introduced in a calm manner," the pro-Yushchenko speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk said. According to the decree, Russia must seek permission from Kiev for the movement of its warships and aircraft beyond Ukrainian borders. Permission is to be sought no later than 72 hours before any planned maneuvers.

The missile cruiser Ukraine was started by the 61 Communards Shipyard in 1984 at the order of the Soviet MoD. Since 1992 this vessel was under the order of the Ukrainian MoD. According to the administration of the shipyard at least 150 million hryvnas ($1 = about 5 hryvnas) is required for completing the ship. Although the ship is 95% complete there is no final decision about its fate. Russia and Ukraine discussed the possible joint sale to a third country, or obtaining of the ship by Russia under the schemes of writing off Ukrainian debts. However, the Russian navy thinks that it is "not reasonable to obtain a ship of this age of building". Possibly "Ukraine" will follow the fate of the aircraft carrier Varyag, which was sold unfinished by Ukraine.

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Page last modified: 27-03-2014 18:54:20 ZULU