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UK announces naval coalition with Norway to support Ukraine

by Martin Fornusek December 11, 2023 10:19 AM 2 min read
HMS Shoreham, a Sandown Class minesweeper, off the coast of Bahrain on Jan. 3, 2021. (Wikipedia/Nicholas Stevenson)
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The U.K. announced on Dec. 11 a new Maritime Capability Coalition with Norway to support the Ukrainian Navy and the procurement of two British minehunters by Kyiv.

The Black Sea remains heavily mined due to Russia's full-scale war, seriously threatening civilian vessels. Minesweeping capabilities would help Ukraine strengthen security in the Black Sea and enable continued shipping in spite of Russian threats.

The coalition's goal is to deliver "ships and vehicles to strengthen Ukraine's ability to operate at sea" and provide "training, equipment, and infrastructure to bolster security in the Black Sea."

U.K. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps is scheduled to confirm the provision of two Sandown Class vessels later on Dec. 11 alongside his Norwegian counterpart Bjorn Arild Gram.

Ukraine is procuring the vessels via the U.K. Export Finance, the country's export credit agency.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry later said that London is also providing 20 Viking amphibious vehicles and 23 raiding crafts.

"The new Maritime Capability Coalition will build the support that the U.K., Norway, and others are providing to Ukraine," the U.K. Defense Ministry's statement read.

"This will be a long-term help to Ukraine transform its navy, making it more compatible with Western allies, more interoperable with NATO, and bolstering security in the Black Sea."

Shapps commented that the minehunters would "deliver vital capability to Ukraine, which will help save lives at sea and open up vital export routes."

"I would like to thank the U.K. for taking the initiative in creating this coalition," the Norwegian defense minister said, adding that other countries are expected to join as well.

The coalition is only the latest in a series of allied initiatives to support various areas of the Ukrainian military capabilities, such as the fighter jet coalition.

The Ukrainian Navy also commissioned two Sandown Class vessels named Chernihiv and Cherkasy in July this year. London is retiring its Sandown fleet in favor of new unmanned systems.

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