On November 13, solemn events on the occasion of the transfer of the Island class patrol boats and search and rescue vessel to the Ukrainian Navy took place in Odessa.
The events were attended by the Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Anatolii Petrenko, representatives of the US Embassy in Ukraine, diplomats and other foreign guests as well as Navy personnel, volunteers, clergy and the general public.
The patrol boats received from the USA were named after the cities of Ukrainian Donbass — Sloviansk and Starobilsk. These names perpetuate the memory of the fallen defenders of Ukraine, natives of these cities — sailor Olexandr Veremeyenko and senior sailor Stepan Kryl from Starobilsk, sailor Roman Napriaglia, senior sailor Sergiy Mayboroda from Sloviansk. They gave their lives for Ukraine’s independence and its European future.
According to the Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Anatolii Petrenko, reliable protection of national interests in the Black and Azov Sea regions is a matter of honor and a strategic task of the Ukrainian Navy and defense forces as a whole.
“Our goal is ambitious, but achievable: through the consistent implementation of defense reform according to NATO standards, we have to actively move through the steadfast implementation of the country’s strategic course on European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Work on the systematic increase in scale and content of our strategic partnership with the United States in the defense field. This event is a compelling success story of our relations and demonstration that everything is actually possible," noted Anatolii Petrenko.
Anatolii Petrenko also stressed that by the end of this year, it is planned to complete the test and adopt three more combat ships from the national defense industry manufacturer to the Ukrainian Navy. The same figure is in the plans of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine for 2020.
“I am sure that our American partners will continue to support us strongly and symmetrically for further restoration of the naval composition of the Ukrainian Navy. We need to work together on Navy infrastructure, social protection for our sailors and their families. We need to further improve our capabilities in terms of situational awareness, maritime patrol aviation and high-precision weapons,” said the Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: According to US Charge d’Affaires, a.i. Joseph Pennington, these boats are part of over 1.6 billion dollars in security assistance the United States has provided to Ukraine since 2014.
They are provided through the Excess Defense Articles program, but were refurbished and retrofitted with Ukrainian defense funds.)