Increasing Ukrainian NAVY capabilities is in the security interests of entire Europe

13 July, 12:41 PM
Neptune rocket (Photo:Фото: turchynov.com)

Neptune rocket (Photo:Фото: turchynov.com)

Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports, and the threat of a global food crisis are among the most important items on the world agenda today.

The High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell during the G20 foreign ministers meeting called Moscow’s actions an attempt to use food as weapons. 

Ukraine warned our partners about these particular consequences in the event of a full-scale war as early as last year, long before February 24. I did it personally, including through public statements. 

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The lack of an adequate reaction of the free world on the armed occupation of Crimea in 2014, ignorance to the de facto occupation of the Sea of Azov, “turning a blind eye” to the Kremlin’s attempt to seize the Black Sea by imposing restrictions due to “miliary exercises”, the desire “not to provoke” Moscow despite total violations on free navigation: those were the steps into the abyss. 

The Kremlin criminals perceived it as an encouragement. While we proposed to close ports for Russian ships as a response to Russia’s encroachments. Now it is already done in many countries. But it is an action post facto. Now the team of Ukrainian authorities is doing everything possible and impossible to unblock our ports.

In all discussions with his respective counterparts, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy raises the topic of ports, ensuring free navigation, the export of our grain and sunflower oil to prevent turbulence due to the food crisis.

 On the security track, the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine proposes a comprehensive strategy aimed at protecting Europe from the Russian threat, in particular in the Black Sea region.

The basis of this strategy is the integration of Ukraine into the security space of NATO de facto, and later de jure.

We are consistently moving down this path.

The increase of capabilities of the Ukrainian Navy in accordance with the level of current challenges should become a visible demonstration of this movement.

Practical steps in this regard were taken last year, when the “Neptune” program was intensified. Its results are well-known, and the mastery of our Navy is recognized around the world.

In the recent months, we have been working painstakingly to ensure the help of our partners to qualitatively strengthen our coastal defence, increase intelligence capabilities etc. 

Our “Neptunes” already share the stage with “Harpoons”, we have received high-quality “eyes” and continue to work in the interests of our navy.   

The next stage of our actions is something we call “mission-oriented approach” in the defence policy.

In the context of the needs of our navy, I presented this approach to my colleagues during the meeting in the Ramstein format on 15 June. A week ago, the Ministry of Defence emphasized on this approach at the Black Sea Summit initiated by members of the US Congress. 

Recently, I had the honor to present the position of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence at the Atlantic – Black Sea Security Forum held by our Romanian partners.

I took the opportunity to thank the people of Romania and my colleague, Romanian Minister of National Defense Vasile Dîncu, for everything that Romania does for Ukraine during these difficult times.

I also stressed that two components are necessary to restore security in the region.

The first component is the unity of the free world. One of the indicators of this unity is the readiness to comply with the sanction regime and strengthen it. Helping Russia to steal Ukrainian grain or export Russian oil obviously contradicts the idea of unity against tyranny.

The second component is readiness to fight back and use force. Then Moscow will be motivated to make “gestures of goodwill” by fleeing after defeats: the way it recently happened at Snake Island and in April in northern Ukraine.

These two components can pave the way to political and diplomatic solutions, including those on the unblocking of Ukrainian ports.

In relations with Moscow, the sequence should be exactly like that. Without it, Russia will simply not engage in serious dialogue.

Today a complete integration of Ukraine’s defence forces into the NATO infrastructure may seem like a difficult challenge to some people. But personally, I am an optimist.

First of all, back in March no one could even imagine that Ukraine would demonstrate such speed and scale in mastering of heavy Western weapons. In four months, we have progressed from complete denial of the idea of providing us with 155-mm artillery (which today is viewed as something perfectly usual) to the use of HIMARS against Russian invaders.

Every single step began from the same answer: “it’s impossible”. However, the level of our mutual compatibility with the NATO forces is rapidly growing.

Secondly, we have the experience of others before our eyes. About a year ago in Brussels, when I was still Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration, a very wise man and my friend Mircea Geoană told me a story.

Mircea Geoană is a former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Romania, and today he serves as Deputy Secretary General of NATO.

He told me that at the beginning of Romania’s path to the Alliance, not everyone believed in success. But he was sure that one day the flag of his country would fly with the other flags near the headquarters. And it happened, despite numerous obstacles on the way.

I am confident that Ukraine will be recognized as one of the cornerstones of European security space and an important component of the collective security system of the free world.

Our soldiers and the entire Ukrainian nation are proving this status at an incredibly high cost.

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