Ukrainian Navy

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Ukrainian Naval Forces
Військово-Морські Сили України
Emblem of the Ukrainian Navy.svg
Emblem of the Ukrainian Navy
Active

1917–1921

August 1992–present
Country  Ukraine
Allegiance Constitution of Ukraine
Type Navy
Size 15,470 men

1 frigate
1 patrol boat
1 landing craft
2 Support Ship

1 corvette (under construction)
Headquarters Sevastopol (1992-2014)
Colors Blue, Gold         
Anniversaries Navy Day (last Sunday in July).[1] From 1997 till 2011 August 1.[2][3]
Battle honours Ukrainian–Soviet War
2014 Crimean crisis
Commanders
Current
commander
Rear admiral Serhiy Hayduk
Insignia
Naval Ensign Ensign of Ukrainian Navy
Naval Jack Flag of Ukraine.svg
Naval Jack (1992) Naval Jack of Ukraine (1992).svg

The Ukrainian Naval Forces (Ukrainian: Військово-Морські Сили України, ВМСУ, Viys’kovo-Mors’ki Syly Ukrayiny, VMSU) is the navy of Ukraine and part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It was established in 1992.

It consists of 5 branches: surface forces, submarine forces, Navy aviation, coastal rocket-artillery and marines.[4] The Navy numbers 15,470 people.[5]

The navy operates in the Black Sea basin (including Sea of Azov and Danube Delta).[4] Distant operations of the Ukrainian Navy are limited to multinational activities, such as Operation Active Endeavour and Operation Atalanta in the Mediterranean and Horn of Africa.

The headquarters of the Ukrainian Naval Forces was, until the 2014 Crimean crisis, situated at Sevastopol in Crimea.[4]

History[edit]

The origins of the contemporary Ukrainian Navy intertwined with the fate of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet and with the modern history of the Crimea. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union (1991), the administration of the Soviet Armed Forces passed to the Joint Armed Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States for a transitional period pending agreement on the division of the ex-Soviet military between members of the former Soviet Union. Marshal of Aviation Yevgeny Shaposhnikov became commander of the Joint Armed Forces command on February 14, 1992.

"War for the oath"[edit]

On December 6, 1991, the Supreme Council of Ukraine adopted laws of Ukraine "About the Defense of Ukraine" and "About the Armed Forces of Ukraine" as well as the text of military oath by a resolution. On the same day, at the session hall of the parliament of Ukraine, the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Kostyantyn Morozov, became the first person to take the oath. On December 10, 1991, the Supreme Council of Ukraine ratified the Belavezha Accords, and, on December 12, 1991, the President of Ukraine issued ukase #4, ordering all military formations based in Ukraine to pledge allegiance until January 20, 1992. The vast majority of the Black Sea Fleet ignored the order. On January 1, 1992, the newspaper Vympyel of the Black Sea Fleet Training unit of Filipp Oktyabrskiy (edited by Captain-Lieutenant Mykola Huk) published the military oath and anthem of Ukraine in the Ukrainian language.

On January 3, 1992, Ukraine started the practical formation of its national armed forces. On January 8, 1992, the officer assembly of the Black Sea Fleet appealed to all leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States to recognise the Black Sea Fleet as an operational-strategic formation and not subordinate to Ukraine. On January 12, 1992, the brigade of border troops in Balaklava (Sevastopol) became the first military formation pledging allegiance to Ukraine. On January 14, 1992, the Governor of Sevastopol appealed to the Supreme Councils of both Ukraine and the Russian Federation, urging faster adoption of a decision on the status of the Black Sea Fleet. On January 16, 1992, an agreement between the participants of Commonwealth of Independent States was signed on the oath in strategic formations.[6] On January 18, 1992, the 3rd company of divers school became the first formation of the Black Sea Fleet to pledge their allegiance to Ukraine, along with the Naval Department of Sevastopol Institute of Instrument Engineering. On the next day, forty-six naval pilots pledged their allegiance to Ukraine at the central square (Ploshcha Lenina) of Mykolaiv.

Black Sea Fleet military personnel being under oath of the Soviet Armed Forces were not quick in pledging allegiance to the newly formed state. Admiral of the Fleet and First Deputy Chief Commander of the Russian Navy Ivan Kapitanets issued a directive: "to officers, midshipmen, warrant officers who create an unhealthy situation in military communities that are prone to treason and taking the oath of allegiance to Ukraine to apply severe sanctions, including dismissal from office and separation from service". Nonetheless, on January 26, the 17th Brigade of Security Ships for the Water District of Crimea Naval Base followed the example of the divers.[7] Right before the Soviet Army and Navy Day on February 22, allegiance to Ukraine was pledged by the 880th Separate Battalion of Marines of Black Sea Fleet. The battalion was recognized as the best formation of the fleet in 1991. The main headquarters of the Navy in Moscow issued an order to dissolve the battalion. After the incident, all military units of the Black Sea Fleet recruited exclusively Russians.

From the beginning, the relationship between the newly formed states of Russia and Ukraine were tense. In January 1992, the Supreme Soviet of Russia initiated the question about the political status of Crimea (Crimean ASSR) and the constitutionality of decision on the transferring of Crimean Oblast of the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR back in 1954, accusing Nikita Khrushchev of treason against the Russian people. Although never annulled, many Russian parliamentarians refuse to recognize the legal document, pointing out the procedural errors during its adoption. The Ukrainian side tried to remind some about the number of international treaties and agreements between the two countries, such as the November 19, 1990 treaty between the Russian SFSR and the Ukrainian SSR where both sides recognized the territorial integrity of each other, as well as the Belavezha Accords (an agreement on creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States) of December 8, 1991 and the Alma-Ata Protocol of December 21, 1991.

Noticing not much reaction from the Black Sea Navy command situated on the territory of Ukraine, on April 5, 1992 the President of Ukraine issued the ukase #209 "About urgent measures on development of the Armed Forces of Ukraine", where it accused the Russian Federation and Joint Armed Forces command of intervening in the internal affairs of Ukraine. On April 6, 1992, a session of the 6th Congress of People's Deputies of the Russian SFSR refused to accept the Belavezha agreement that was previously ratified by the Supreme Council of the Russian SFSR (on December 12, 1991). Also, on April 6, 1992, the President of Ukraine appointed Borys Kozhyn as the Commander of Ukrainian Navy. The next day, the President of Russia issued ukase "On transferring of the Black Sea Fleet under jurisdiction of the Russian Federation". On April 9, 1992, the effect of both ukases were suspended until the end of the Russian-Ukrainian talks.

Division of the Black Sea Fleet[edit]

Ukrainian Navy artillery boat Zhuk class U170 Skadovs'k. Bay of Sevastopol, Crimea.

In September 1991, an office of the Society of Ukrainian Officers was opened in Sevastopol on the initiative of Major Volodymyr Kholodyuk and captains-lieutenant Ihor Tenyukh and Mykola Huk.[7] The society become the initiator and nucleus of organization of the Ukrainian Naval Forces. On April 7, 1992 at 17:00 37 officers of administration and headquarters of the Crimean Naval Base pledged their allegiance and loyalty to people of Ukraine. Rear Admiral Borys Kozhyn who was in charge of the base was not present at that time of the event. He was in the office of Ivan Yermakov accepting a proposition of the First Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council of Ukraine to become the commander of the future Ukrainian Naval Forces. On April 8, 1992 the Minister of Defense signed a directive "About creation of the Ukrainian Naval Force". On April 13, 1992 there was created an organizational group on creation of the Ukrainian Naval Forces, which really upset the command of the Black Sea Fleet.

The current history of the Ukrainian Naval Forces began on August 1, 1992, when it was formally established by order of the President of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk. This was followed by a long and controversial partition of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet between newly independent Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

One of the episodes of this process was the story of the SKR-112 – effectively the first Ukrainian Navy ship.[8] On July 20, 1992, the crew of SKR-112 declared itself a Ukrainian ship and raised the Ukrainian flag. The Navy headquarters in Moscow considered this a mutiny and attempted to act accordingly. But the ship left its base on the Crimean peninsula for Odessa, causing a chase and ramming attempts by ships still loyal to Moscow. Soon several other ships, auxiliary vessels, and coastal units of the Black Sea Fleet followed SKR-112's decision but with less violent outcomes.

It was only in 1997 that the ships and equipment of the Black Sea Fleet were officially divided between the two countries. The new Russian formation retained its historic name "Black Sea Fleet". Under the terms of a negotiated lease agreement it was also granted rights to use the majority of its bases on the Crimea Peninsula, Ukraine on a renewable ten-year lease basis at least until 2017. The newly established Ukrainian Naval Forces received dozens of vessels (mostly obsolete or inoperative) and some shore-based infrastructure. However, the Russian Navy lost several important facilities, most notably the NITKA (Russian acronym for "Scientific testing simulator for shipborne aviation") naval aviation training facility in Saky, and the special forces base in Ochakiv. The process of fleet division remained painful since many aspects of the two navies' co-existence were under-regulated, causing recurring conflicts.

The Krivak III class frigate Hetman Sahaydachniy is the current flagship of the Ukrainian Naval Forces.[9]

Since 1997 most of the Ukrainian naval units have been scrapped or poorly maintained. By 2009, only the frigate Hetman Sahaydachniy was capable of long endurance missions.[10]

Joint exercises of the Ukrainian Naval Forces and the Russian Black Sea Fleet resumed after a seven-year interval in 2010.[11]

Most of the Ukrainian naval assets, as those of the other branches of the armed forces, comprise mainly Soviet-era equipment; no major plan for modernization has yet emerged, except for a new corvette design completed in 2009.[12]

On December 19, 2008, United States Ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor, Jr. stated that Ukrainian Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov and US Defense Secretary Robert Gates were discussing the purchase by Ukraine of one to three U.S. Navy frigates.[13]

In December 2009, the design for a new corvette (designed exclusively by Ukraine and to be built at Ukrainian shipyards) for the Ukrainian Naval Forces was completed.[14] That month the Ukrainian defense ministry and Chernomorsky Shipyard (Mykolaiv) signed a contract upon results of the governmental tender for corvettes. The Shipbuilding Research and Design Center (Mykolaiv) was selected the project developer.

The ship is supposed to operate in the Black and the Mediterranean seas; her endurance will be 30 days, displacement is 2,500 tons. Leading European arms manufacturers like DCNS, MBDA, and EuroTorp will deliver weapons for the ambitious project. Commissioning of the lead ship is scheduled in 2016. It is planned to build 4 corvettes before 2021. According to the corvette construction program approved by Ukrainian government in March 2011, overall amount of program financing till 2021 will be about UAH 16.22 bbillion.

2014 Crimean crisis[edit]

In the 2014 Crimean crisis, Russia annexed Crimea, where the majority of the bases of the Ukrainian Navy were situated. Twelve thousand of Ukraine's 15,450 Navy personnel were based in Crimea, and the majority defected to Russia or resigned from military service.[citation needed] Russia also has control of at least 12 of Ukraine's 17 major warships. The base north of Odessa became the main operational Ukrainian Naval base. Ukraine also lost control of its Navy's main underground ammunition-storage site at the Inkerman valley, outside Sevastopol, as well as of its helicopter-repair facilities. The Navy's 750-strong 1st Marine Battalion at Feodosia was overrun by pro-Russian forces, its personnel arrested, and its equipment seized.[15]

On 8 April 2014 an agreement had been reached between Russia and Ukraine to return captured vessels to Ukraine and "for the withdrawal of an undisclosed number of Ukrainian aircraft seized in Crimea".[16] At the time Russian Navy sources claimed the Ukrainian ships were "not operational because they are old, obsolete, and in poor condition".[16]

Current role[edit]

The Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is aimed at defense of sovereignty and state interests of Ukraine in the sea. It is required to neutralize enemy naval groups in its operational zone both alone and with other branches of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and provide assistance from the sea to the Ground Forces during their operations. Main tasks of the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are the:[4]

  • creation and maintenance of the combat forces on a level, sufficient to deter maritime aggression;
  • neutralization of enemy naval forces;
  • destruction of enemy transportation;
  • support of the landing of amphibious forces and fight against enemy amphibious forces;
  • maintenance of a beneficial operational regime in the operational zone;
  • defense of its bases, sea lines of communications;
  • protection of submarine space within the territorial sea;
  • protection of the merchant fleet, maritime oil and gas industry, and other state maritime activity;
  • assistance to the Army in their conduct of operations (military actions) along maritime axes;
  • participation in peacekeeping operations.

Commanders[edit]

Name Rank Period of command
Borys Kozhyn Vice Admiral April 7, 1992 – October 1993
Volodymyr Bezkorovainy Vice Admiral October 1993 – October 1996
Mykhailo Yezhel Admiral October 28, 1996 – May 20, 2003
Ihor Kniaz Vice Admiral May 21, 2003 – March 23, 2006
Ihor Tenyukh Admiral March 23, 2006 – March 18, 2010
Viktor Maksimov Vice Admiral March 18, 2010 – July 27, 2012
Yuriy Ilyin Admiral July 27, 2012 - February 19, 2014[17]
Serhiy Yeliseyev (acting) Vice Admiral February 19, 2014 – March 1, 2014
Denis Berezovsky Rear Admiral March 1, 2014 – March 2, 2014[18]
Serhiy Hayduk Rear Admiral March 2, 2014–present[19]

On March 2, during the 2014 Crimean crisis the newly appointed Berezovsky defected to the breakaway Crimean government; the central Ukrainian government put him under investigation for treason and appointed Hayduk, formerly in charge of Ukrainian Naval Forces logistic support.

Ranks and insignia[edit]

Structure[edit]

  • Military administration
  • Combatants
  • Amphibious ships
  • Mine-sweeping ships
Special operations
  • Combat swimmers
  • Anti-sabotage unit

Units and aircraft[edit]

Left to right, U402 Konstantyn Olshansky, U401 Kirovohrad, U154 Kahovka, U209 Ternopil, U153 Pryluky.

According to Navy Commander Vice Admiral Yuriy Ilyin, at the beginning of 2013, the fleet had 11 warships fully ready to perform complex tasks and ten aircraft and 31 auxiliary vessels in working order.[20]

As of March 24, 2014, most of the Ukrainian ships in Sevastopol were taken by the Russian Black Sea Fleet,[21][22] including several aircraft and other equipment.

Bases[edit]

The headquarters and Main Naval Base of the Ukrainian Navy were located in Sevastopol in Striletska Bay within the Bay of Sevastopol.[4] The base is also home to the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy.

Other naval bases

In selected locations are situated several naval support elements:

Ukraine Naval Infantry[edit]

The Ukrainian Marine Corps (Ukrainian: Морська піхота literally means "Naval Infantry") is a branch of the Ukrainian Navy. It is used as a component part of amphibious, airborne and amphibious-airborne operations, alone or in accordance with formations and units of the Army in order to capture parts of the seashore, islands, ports, fleet bases, coast airfields and other coast objects of the enemy. It can also be used to defend naval bases, vital areas of the shore, separate islands and coast objects and provide security in hostile areas.

References[edit]

  1. ^ President signs Decree On Celebration of Some Memorable Dates and Professional Holidays[dead link], President.gov.ua (30 December 2011)
  2. ^ The Global Road Warrior: 100 Country Handbook for the International Business Traveler by Joe Reif, World Trade Press, 2001, ISBN 1-885073-86-0
  3. ^ Ukraine Intelligence & Security Activities and Operations Handbook, International Business Publications, USA, 2009, ISBN 0-7397-1661-1
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine". Mil.gov.ua. 1996-08-17. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  5. ^ (Ukrainian) Ukrainian Armed Forces 2007 White Book p.111
  6. ^ "Text of the agreement on oath in the strategic formations". Zakon.nau.ua. 1992-01-16. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  7. ^ a b Ukrainian Navy History, GlobalSecurity.org Website
  8. ^ Ukrainian Navy, GlobalSecurity.org Website
  9. ^ Kozhara: Hetman Sahaidachny frigate to join NATO’s anti-piracy operation[dead link], Interfax-Ukraine (17 September 2013)
  10. ^ "The Destruction of a Squadron. A sequel". Day.kiev.ua. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  11. ^ Ukraine and Russia to resume joint naval exercises[dead link], ITAR-TASS (March 12, 2010)
  12. ^ John Pike. "Ukraine Navy". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  13. ^ The Washington Charter on Strategic Partnership confirms guarantees of Ukraine's security, says U.S. ambassador, Interfax-Ukraine (22 December 2008)
  14. ^ Yushchenko pressed for the development of a new Ukrainian corvette, Interfax-Ukraine (October 12, 2009)
  15. ^ [1][dead link]
  16. ^ a b Russia begins returning Ukraine naval vessels and aircraft, Jane's Defence Weekly (12 April 2014)
  17. ^ On Dismissal of Yu.Il 'yin from his post as commander of the Naval Forces of Ukraine. Presidential decree. March 19, 2014
  18. ^ "Контр-Адмірала Дениса Березовського Призначено Командувачем Військово-Морських Сил Збройних Сил України". Mil.gov.ua. 2006-04-05. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  19. ^ Rear Admiral D.V.Berezovsky was dismissed from duty as commander of the Naval Forces of Ukraine. Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. March 2, 2014
  20. ^ Commander:Ukrainian Navy to have 11 ships, 10 aircraft, 31 vessels by end of 2012, Kyiv Post (30 November 2012)
  21. ^ "Pro-Russian crowds seize 3 Ukrainian warships - Europe news". Mail.com. 2014-03-20. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  22. ^ "ITAR-TASS: Russia - Over 70 military units in Crimea hoist Russian flags". En.itar-tass.com. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 

External links and further reading[edit]