UK and Norway has launched maritime support initiative for Ukraine
The Maritime Capability Coalition will deliver long-term support to Ukraine and provide training, equipment, and infrastructure to bolster security in the Black Sea amidst Russian military aggression.
Agreed during a recent Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting, the maritime support initiative is just one of the Capability Coalitions to strengthen Ukrainian military capacities on water, land, and air.
The Maritime Capability Coalition will build the support the UK, Norway, and other partner states provide to Ukraine. This will be a long-term effort to help Ukraine transform its navy, making it more compatible with Western allies, more interoperable with NATO, and bolstering security in the Black Sea. This initiative also involves close cooperation with the Ukrainian Navy and the Ministry of Defence. It aims to rapidly develop a Ukrainian Marine Corps in the Black Sea and river patrol boats to defend coastal and inland waterways against Russian attacks.
On December 11, 2023, an official ceremony was held to mark the start of the coalition’s work at Admiralty House in London. UK Secretary of State for Defence Grant Shapps, Norwegian Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram, and Commander of the Ukrainian Navy Oleksii Neizhpapa participated in the event. Rustem Umerov, Minister of Defence of Ukraine, made a video address.
“This capability boost marks the beginning of a new dedicated effort by the UK, Norway, and our allies to strengthen Ukraine’s maritime capabilities over the long term, enhancing their ability to operate in defending their sovereign waters and bolstering security in the Black Sea,” said UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps.
According to Shapps, this initiative is just “part of a series of new coalitions formed between allies to ensure an enduring military commitment in support of Ukraine”.
Within the Maritime Capability Coalition, the UK is providing Ukraine with a number of military equipment, including 2 Sandown Class Mine Counter-Measure Vessels, 20 Viking Amphibious vehicles, and 23 Raiding craft.
“By developing this coalition, we will be able to prevent Russian interference in freedom of navigation and strengthen the protection of sea routes, particularly the grain corridor. Our victory depends on technological superiority over the enemy. Russia should not feel safe in any part of the Black Sea,” commented Rustem Umerov, Minister of Defence of Ukraine.
Umerov also emphasized that making the Black Sea coast safe from sea mines, as well as further development of naval aviation and reliable coastal defense, are among the priority tasks.
In total, the UK government has allocated about £4,6 billion in military support to Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022. Moreover, more than 52,000 Ukrainian troops have completed military training organized by the UK since 2014.
Norway has also been actively providing military aid to Ukraine, as well as conducting training for Ukrainian soldiers, in particular “in small boat operations”.