Ukraine plans to build two new naval bases in the Black Sea
Ukraine is going forward with plans to construct two new naval bases in the Black Sea region, an area of conflict with Russia that this year may see greater participation by the US military and NATO.
According to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, one base will be established along the Black Sea and the other on the Azov Sea, a related waterway that has been a flashpoint between Russia and Ukraine.
The United Kingdom is "helping us financially" and soon, Shmyhal said, work on the projects will begin.
The comments came at a joint news conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who promoted the efforts of the US and the alliance in the region. When Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin takes part in his first NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels next week, the Black Sea is likely to be a focus field.
“I think we have to understand that the Black Sea is of strategic importance for NATO and the NATO allies — our littoral states, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania. And then we have two close and highly valued partners in the region, Ukraine and Georgia,” General Stoltenberg stated.
Since January, the Navy destroyers USS Porter and USS Donald Cook have been operating in the Black Sea with allies and with Ukraine's navy. On Tuesday, in an integrated land, air and subsurface warfare exercise, both warships, along with a P-8A reconnaissance aircraft, joined two Turkish frigates and F-16 fighters.
Maritime Business World