The Ministries of Defence of the UK and Ukraine have signed a memorandum of intent (MoI) to develop the capabilities of the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The MoI was signed aboard aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales during the visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi and Defence Minister Andriy Taran to the UK.

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This follows the deployment of the Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon to the Black Sea to support freedom of navigation.

The visit of the vessel to Odesa, a port city in Ukraine, will showcase the commitment of the UK to the relationship with Ukraine.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Defence is at the heart of the UK’s special partnership with Ukraine. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Ukraine twice in the past year, where I expanded our commitment to supporting the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

“Now I am delighted to be able to welcome President Zelensky and Defence Minister Taran to explore how we can strengthen that relationship even further.”

In August this year, during a visit to Ukraine, Wallace announced that the UK will spearhead the multinational Maritime Training Initiative for the Ukrainian Navy.

The initiative is expected to enhance the ability of the navy to fight threats in the Black Sea.

Taran added: “The implementation of these projects will significantly strengthen the capabilities and combat potential of the Ukrainian Navy, as well as the interoperability with the naval component of Nato member states.

“In addition, we expect that this will be a driver of recovery of the shipbuilding industry of Ukraine and will attract to our economy the latest technologies.”

In November 2018, former UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced a range of forthcoming maritime training deployments in Ukraine that would help intensify the defence cooperation between the two nations.