Russia “stole” Ukraine’s Navy, according to MSM outlet National Interest.
Still, with the United States’ help it will build a “mosquito” fleet, featuring small, fast, and stealthy short-range patrol and fast attack craft in a sort of arsenal similar to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
These are presumably more survivable and useable than large frigates and destroyers.
According to the author of the article, Sebastien Roblin, among other things, Kiev lost half a dozen corvettes, the only submarine in the Navy, as well as a program for training combat dolphins. In addition, about 75% of the Ukrainian military serving in Crimea left their posts or went over to the side of Russia, including the commander of the Navy.
Subsequently, some of the ships began to be returned to Kiev, but the completion of the process was prevented by the deterioration of relations with Moscow due to the situation in the Donbass, writes Roblin. Thus, today Ukraine has only one of the large ships left – the frigate Hetman Sagaidachny, and there are naval bases only in the western part of the country, in Odessa and Nikolaev.
The journalist notes that NATO countries periodically help Kiev to create this “mosquito fleet”.
For example, Washington has already donated three out of a planned five ex-Coast Guard Island-class patrol cutters to Kiev. The 110-foot cutters are armed with a rapid-firing 25-millimeter cannon and two machine guns and their sixteen-person crews are being trained in the United States. The United States is also reportedly studying ways to mount heavier weaponry to meet Ukrainian requirements.
The State Department likewise authorized sale of up to sixteen Mark VI patrol boats for $600 million, eight of which have already been transferred via U.S. military aid packages. These eighty-five-foot boats are smaller and faster at forty-five knots than Island-class cutters, and more heavily armed with two 30-millimeter Mark 44 Bushmaster II chains guns as well as two 25-millimeter cannons.
Some of them are received by Ukraine under the program of military assistance, in particular from the United States, while others are received free of charge, since they have already been taken out of service.
Meanwhile, in December 2020, London signed a memorandum with Kiev agreeing to extend a 10-year $1.73 billion loan to pay for construction of eight 580-ton Barzan-class fast attack craft (FACs).
London also is donating two freshly decommissioned 600-ton Sandown-class minehunters to Ukraine.
The fiberglass-hulled vessels have tethered SeaFox mine-disposal systems and can undertake some patrol duties thanks to their 30-millimeter cannon and machinegun armament.
Finally, Ukraine is co-building two 2,645-ton Ada-class corvettes with Turkey as part of $265 million deal. The Ukrainian Adas are to mount eight anti-ship missiles, a 76-millimeter deck gun, anti-submarine torpedoes, RIM-116B or MICA short-range air defense missiles, 35-millimeter and 12.7 millimeter close defense weapons, and a hangar to support navalized Mi-2 anti-submarine and search-and-rescue helicopters.
To assist this, Turkey is also exporting up to forty-eight TB2 Bayraktar combat drones to Ukraine, six of which are going to the Navy for maritime patrol missions.
Summing up, the author recalled that during the armed conflict in South Ossetia in 2008, Georgia lost most of its naval forces off the coast of Abkhazia without any losses for the Russian military.