The UK’s Ministry of Defence has announced that it will spearhead a multinational Maritime Training Initiative for the Ukrainian Navy.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace said that this initiative is expected to boost the navy’s ability to fight threats in the Black Sea.

In a visit to Kyiv to meet the Ukrainian partners, Wallace added that the UK will deploy Royal Navy ships to the region later for training with the Ukrainian Navy.

Wallace said:We have already assisted thousands of Ukrainian personnel in a plethora of skills ranging from basic first aid to operational planning, all of which defends their territorial integrity from Russian-backed separatists.

“Now, the Maritime Training Initiative will enable even closer collaboration with the Nato alliance and armed forces around the world and allows us to build on Ukraine’s new Nato Enhanced Opportunities Partner status.”

The ministry plans to increase support for the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) as part of the coordination of the international maritime training programme, which will share the experience of the Royal Navy and its partners starting next month.

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The Royal Navy, along with navy personnel from Sweden, Canada and Denmark, will deliver courses in navigation, operational planning, military diving, sea surveillance, fire-fighting and damage control.

More countries are expected to join the initiative in the near future.

The Maritime Training Initiative will allow the Ukrainian Navy to work closely with international partners to jointly defend the Black Sea region.

Following the mandatory suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this new initiative will follow the re-launch of UK’s ‘Operation Orbital’ training mission to Ukraine.

Since the launch of the training mission in 2015, the British Army has trained over 18,000 members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF).

In 2018, the UK’s then 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.