Two Royal Navy Minehunter Ships Bound for Ukraine Courtesy of UK

The Sandown Class Mine Hunter HMS Ramsey left her Base Port of HM Naval Base Clyde on May
Wikimedia Commons

Two Royal Navy minehunter ships are to be transferred to Ukraine in an effort to strengthen the country’s ability to safeguard its shipping, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced Monday.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said the vessels would help to reopen “vital export routes” – limited since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.

The MoD revealed the UK is also launching a “maritime coalition” with Norway, to garner long-term support for Ukraine.

Shapps told BBC One’s Breakfast the vessels would make a “significant difference”, boosting efforts to clear mines from the Black Sea, and that the coalition would help build a Ukrainian navy fit to defend the country in the future.

he HMS Ramsey and the HMS Blyth Sandown class minehunters that should be in a service with Ukraine / open source

Ex-Royal Navy Sandown class minehunters are due to enter service with the Ukrainian Navy Ukraine. (Royal Navy)

He dismissed suggestions western nations were losing interest in the war in Ukraine.

“We believe that we simply can’t have an outcome where an autocratic dictator walks into a neighbouring democratic country and then the West gets bored of it,” he said.

“That is an unacceptable outcome. That is why the UK will keep reminding people that that can’t happen.”

The provision of two Royal Navy minehunters to Ukraine has been in the works for a long time. They were part of a package of UK maritime support, promised before Russia invaded Ukraine.

The Royal Navy has been training Ukrainian crews over the summer in how to use the ships and although a departure date looms, one critical question is yet to be answered.

How will the Sandown Class mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) – Chernihiv (ex-HMS Grimsby) and Cherkasy (ex-HMS Shoreham) – be able to enter the Black Sea?

Turkey controls access through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles straits and its permission is needed for the two ships to transit to their new homes.

Ankara previously prohibited the passage of the ships of the Russian Navy from the Mediterranean Sea, relying on the Montreux Convention on February 27, 2023.

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