Ukrainian navy on high alert amid tensions with Russia

World Today

The U.S. military has carried out a rare overflight of Ukraine. It’s the first since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and follows reports the U.S. Navy plans to sail a warship into the Black Sea. Ukraine’s Navy is also taking steps to secure its shores. CGTN’s Stephanie Freid has more from Odessa.

Odessa’s navy headquarters are on the front line of Ukraine’s standoff with Russia. If Ukraine is attacked by water, it will be a point of entry. That’s why the Ukrainian government is doing its utmost to secure the country’s shores and interior and rally support from NATO member states.

Ukraine implemented martial law. The military is carrying out widespread drills. But the bottom line is that when it comes to the number of personnel and vessels, there is no comparison between Russia and Ukraine.

Ukraine’s naval commander told CGTN Russia’s navy outnumbers Ukraine’s by eleven to one both in personnel-power and vessels.

On Wednesday, Ukraine successfully test fired its Neptune anti-ship missile. The 280-kilometer range system will be mass produced within a year.

“Neptune will be the coastal rocket system,” explained Ukrainian Naval Admiral Ihor Voronchenko. “It’s a defense system that guarantees we can hit enemies from the coast and defend our shoreline.”

Ukraine’s government wants NATO member states to deploy vessels to surrounding waters to help defend the country. US State Department reports indicate the United States navy is getting ready to deploy a warship to the Black Sea.

But Ukraine’s naval commander believes that Russia’s aspirations go beyond Ukraine

“The octopus has spread its tentacles across the globe,” Admiral Voronchenko said. “If [Putin] doesn’t prove himself a victorious tsar to his people, he’ll lose their trust, and that will mean the end, the collapse of his empire.”

If the U.S. deploys a warship to the Black Sea, the already highly charged situation will intensify further.