By Lt. Bobby Dixon, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
Joseph Pennington, the Charge d’Affaires, a.i. from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv and Rear Adm. Matthew A. Zirkle, chief of staff at U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, attended the commissioning of two former U.S. Coast Guard cutters being turned over to the Ukrainian Navy, Nov. 13, 2019.
The commissioning of the 110’ patrol boats into the Ukrainian Navy follow years of planning by U.S. 6th Fleet and Navy officials.
“The addition of these boats to Ukraine’s naval fleet will expand the Ukrainian Navy’s operational capacity and response potential to defend the nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Pennington. “The boats will also provide greater situational awareness in the Black Sea, increasing the security of Ukraine’s coastline and shipping lanes, and they will help Ukraine to prevent smuggling through its waters.”
The patrol boats received from U.S. 6th Fleet and the U.S. Coast Guard were named after the cities in the 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.
In addition, before the commissioning ceremony, 34 Ukrainian Navy sailors worked and trained with the U.S. Coast Guard for a 10 week program in Baltimore, Maryland so that they would be ready to take operational command of the Island-class patrol boats on arrival.
“These patrol boats have long been the workhorse platform of the U.S. Coast Guard’s coastal fleet; they’re tough, efficient, and versatile,” said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Chris Davis, U.S. Coast Guard liaison officer at U.S. 6th Fleet. “They are excellent additions to the Ukrainian Navy charged to provide maritime security for Ukraine.”
During the ceremony, the U.S. government formally announced the upcoming transfer of three more patrol boats.
“As part of our continuing support to Ukraine, I’m also pleased to announce today that in addition to these two Island-Class Patrol Boats that we are transferring here today, the United States will provide three additional Island-Class Patrol Boats.” said Pennington.
These boats are just a small part of over 1.6 billion dollars in security assistance the United States has provided to Ukraine since 2014.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.
Remarks from Charge d’Affaires, a.i. Joseph Pennington: https://ua.usembassy.gov/remarks-by-charge-daffaires-a-i-joseph-pennington-at-an-island-class-patrol-boat-transfer-ceremony/
As reported by the Ukrainian Navy: http://www.mil.gov.ua/en/news/2019/11/13/ukrainian-navy-has-received-island-class-patrol-boats-starobilsk%E2%80%9D-sloviansk%E2%80%9D-and-search-and-rescue-vessel-oleksandr-okhrimenko%E2%80%9D/