Ukraine, expanding its navy

Ukraine is refitting and expanding its naval fleet, including repairing its flagship, the frigate  “Hetman Sahaydachnyy”, to counter a Russian military build-up in the annexed territory of Crimea, the commander of the Ukrainian navy says. The upgrade will be helped by $30 million worth of U.S. aid, part of a $500 million package from Washington for the Ukrainian military which Kiev expects to receive next year. (tmsnrt.rs/2fEjLO1) “Step by step we will rebuild our fleet from the beginning,” Vice Admiral Ihor Voronchenko told Reuters in an interview.” Our capacities in terms of quality will be better that the ones which remained in Crimea.” Ukraine lost two-thirds of its fleet, which had been mostly based in Sevastopol, when Russia seized Crimea from Kiev in 2014. Since then it has fought Russian-backed separatists in the Donbass region in a war that has killed nearly 10,000 people. Before the Russian annexation, Moscow leased facilities from the Ukrainian state to house its Black Sea Fleet, which has been based in Crimea for more than two centuries. Those facilities, mainly around Sevastopol, are now being expanded.

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