A ship carrying two former US Coast Guard patrol boats refitted and designed to bolster the Ukrainian navy transited the Dardanelles Strait on Saturday after Ukraine said it feared Russia was planning an attack on it.
The ship carrying the two Island-class patrol boats left Baltimore for the Ukrainian port of Odessa on November 8. Ukrainian sailors have already undergone extensive training on ships in the United States. Ukraine obtained two similar vessels in 2019.
The two new boats are part of a security program for Ukraine worth more than $ 2.5 billion since 2014, the year Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula and the separatists backed by Russia has seized part of eastern Ukraine, the US embassy in Kiev said.
The United States, Ukraine and NATO have accused Russia of threatening behavior towards Kiev in recent weeks, alleging that it has bolstered its forces near Ukraine in an unusual way.
Russia says it has the right to move its troops anywhere it wants on its own territory and that it does not plan to attack anyone.
The Kremlin said in September that NATO would cross Russia’s red line if it expanded its military infrastructure in Ukraine, and Moscow has since accused Ukraine and NATO of destabilizing behavior, including in the Black Sea.
Kiev lost most of its naval power in the Black Sea after the annexation of Crimea when Russia seized much of its navy. He has since tried to rebuild his navy with the help of NATO countries.
The US State Department approved this summer the potential sale to Ukraine of up to 16 Mark VI patrol boats and equipment for an estimated $ 600 million.
Ukraine, which is striving to become a NATO member, received a large shipment of US ammunition earlier this year and Javelin anti-tank missiles, drawing criticism from Moscow which said it had serious concerns. of security as to the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO one day.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by DAILYNEWSCATCH staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)