Yesterday, the former Prime Minister of Ukraine Nikolay Azarov on his Twitter page posted two posts about the construction of four NATO naval bases in our country.
The politicians wrote that “Great Britain has concluded an agreement with Ukraine, on the basis of which NATO naval bases will appear in Ochakov, Berdyansk, Nikolaev, and Melitopol” (https://twitter.com/AzarovNikolay_/status/1341656607764180992?s= twenty). One of the tasks of the new bases should be “blocking the movement of ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and depriving them of operational space” (https://twitter.com/AzarovNikolay_/status/1341656184428908544?s=20), as well as creating “a certain zone of tension near Crimea”.
It sounds very tempting and promising. True, I have not yet been able to find confirmation of this information on the Internet.
Apparently Nikolay Yanovich was referring to the memorandum of cooperation between Kyiv and London, signed on October 7 during a visit to the UK by President Volodymir Zelensky. As part of the memorandum, the parties agreed to build two naval bases in Ukraine: one each on the Black and Azov Seas. To this end, the UK has announced its readiness to provide a loan of 1.25 billion pounds and allocate its specialists.
In 2014, along with Crimea, Ukraine lost most of its ships. Currently, the Ukrainian Navy has two naval bases: in Odessa (main) and in Nikolaev. The Navy has 16 ships. Over the past four years, six small armored artillery boats have been added to the ranks of the Navy, built in 2016-2018. Two Island class patrol boats were received from the USA. Washington announced the transfer of six more Mark VI boats to Kiev.
The Ukrainian fleet is currently small and consists of small boats, which is why it is often called “mosquito”. But sooner or later the once great fleet must be rebuilt.
With the loss of Crimea, Ukraine also lost its main naval base. The capacity of the base in Odessa is not enough to provide a full-fledged fleet after its restoration.
Therefore, Ukraine is now building a base in Ochakov on the Black Sea and in Berdyansk, on the Azov.
Given the intentions to join the North Atlantic Alliance, new bases must be built in accordance with NATO standards so that they are able to receive ships from allies.
The loan offered by the UK can be a good help in construction. And Azarov's posts on Twitter now look at least a very distant prospect. And so far it is hardly worth taking them seriously.