Two minehunter ships, formerly part of the Royal Navy and now transferred to Ukraine, have docked in Portsmouth.

The ships, rechristened Cherkasy and Chernihiv, completed their journey from Scotland to Portsmouth and are now under Ukrainian command.

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The arrival of the former Royal Navy ships coincides with preparations for Exercise Sea Breeze 24, a joint operation involving the Royal Navy, US Navy, and Ukrainian Navy.

GlobalData’s “The UK Defense Market 2023-2028” report highlights how the UK has provided Ukraine military aid, from delivering M270 MLRS and Nlaw anti-tank weapons to training Ukrainian troops in the UK.

While this transfer exemplifies the collaborative efforts between the UK and Ukraine, it also emphasises the role of sea mine detection and disposal in securing the Black Sea region. Amid the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, ensuring the safety of maritime routes has emerged as a top priority for regional stability and international trade.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The UK is leading the way in helping Ukraine to modernise its Navy. The transfer of these ships and the excellent training provided by the Royal Navy will have a real long-term impact on Ukraine’s ability to defend its waters.”

Despite their current inability to navigate the Black Sea due to international restrictions, the minehunter vessels represent an asset for Ukraine’s coastal defence strategy. As the UK continues to support Ukraine’s long-term naval capabilities, the focus remains on equipping the Ukrainian Navy to detect and neutralise sea mines, safeguarding commercial shipping and maritime routes.

The UK’s military aid pledge totals more than £7bn since the onset of the conflict in 2022.