NEWTOWN, Conn. --- Senior U.S. officials have purportedly expressed doubts regarding Ukraine's ability to acquire ex-U.S. Navy ships under a program originally envisioned to boost Ukrainian naval capacity.
On January 24, Interfax news agency quoted U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor as expressing doubts on Kiev's purchase of U.S. surplus vessels. During a press conference, Taylor noted that the U.S. Department of Defense and Ukrainian Defense Ministry had begun negotiations, but that those negotiations were initiated before the onset of the current economic crisis engulfing Ukraine. Taylor added that, "U.S. naval ships and their equipment are very expensive to maintain, and therefore he does not believe these negotiations will result in a decision in the nearest future."
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry press service originally reported on October 8, that Ukrainian Defense Minister Yuri Yekhanurov and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates discussed the possibility Ukraine taking possession of secondhand U.S. naval vessels.
Gates said that the American government was considering a possibility of the turning over of those ships to the Ukrainian Navy within the framework of military-technical cooperation between Ukraine and the United States. He added, however, that the issue required the support of the U.S. Congress. According to his information, the next round of consultations on the problem on the level of defense ministries of the two countries will be held in San Diego, California, the Ukrainian defense ministry press service reports.