UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced a range of forthcoming maritime training deployments in Ukraine that would help intensify the defence cooperation between the two nations.
The deployments will help address the growing threats and hostility faced by the UK and Ukraine and will enable the armed forces of the two countries to work jointly in defence of the international rules-based order.
Williamson said: “As long as Ukraine faces Russian hostilities, it will find a steadfast partner in the UK. By continuing to work together, whether through training programmes or military exercises, we help Ukraine to stand up for our shared values.
“Those values of freedom and democracy cannot be traded. I have witnessed on the frontline the effects of the conflict in the East and this has completely reinforced my support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.”
As part of the effort, the UK Royal Navy intends to deploy its multi-role hydrographic survey ship HMS Echo to the Black Sea next year.
The deployment of the navy vessel will help advance and enhance the UK’s support to Ukraine in order to ensure freedom of navigation in the region.
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Ukraine Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak said: “The UK is a valued partner that has supported Ukraine’s Armed Forces for the last four years in the face of Russian aggression.
“As we fight to defend our territory, the offer of extended support from the UK Armed Forces is vitally important and gratefully received.”
Training teams comprising personnel from the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines and the British Army will be deployed to Ukraine in January and February as part of the extension to the UK’s Operation Orbital military training programme in the country.
The announcement to extend the military training operation in Ukraine until 2020 was made in September.