The shipbuilding achievements that Ukraine inherited from the Soviet Union eventually went bankrupt, especially in the field of military shipbuilding. A country that once had the Soviet Union’s leading military shipbuilding industry, but now Ukraine has to rely on foreign designs.
Ukraine recently signed an agreement with Turkey for Two corvettes, are likely to appear in the Ukrainian Navy in the next few years. According to Mr. Oleksandr Aman, Consul General of Ukraine in Istanbul, 3.8 billion hryvnias (equivalent to 1.5 billion USD) have been allocated for the project.
In February 2020, the Commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Rear Admiral Alexei Neizhpapa announced that Ukraine would have five Ada-class corvettes . At the same time, the first ship will be built in Turkey, and four more in Ukraine. After checking Ukraine’s shipbuilding capacity, Turkey decided to build ships at the Nikolaev Ocean shipyard.
The Ada-class corvettes are part of the MiLGEM (future Ukrainian Navy construction project) project, in addition to building Ada-class corvettes, the project also builds four multi-purpose Istanbul-class frigates, and four TF2000 frigates and an ELINT electronic reconnaissance corvette. According to the Russian press, the entire MiLGEM project is worth 3 billion USD.
Turkish corvettes are by no means the only thing the Ukrainian navy will add to its fleet. According to calculations by Ukrainian military analyst Yuri Butusov, throughout 2020, Ukraine actively concluded contracts and agreements for the purchase and construction of military ships. In addition to Turkey, such agreements have been signed with the US Department of Defense (purchase of 16 speedboats of the Mark VI type), as well as with the UK, which lent Ukraine 1.25 billion pounds, to build 8 fast attack missile boats.
Finally, there is France’s OSEA, which is building 20 patrol boats at Ukraine’s Nibulon shipyard. According to rumors, the completion of British rocket ships will also be partially localized.
And now, the fleet of ships of the Ukrainian Navy is a bunch of mess, with a combination of Turkish, American, British and French warships including a total of 52 ships, which include 5 corvettes, 8 missile boats and 39 patrol boats and will cost Ukraine about $ 3.7 billion in budget.
Thus, the MiLGEM project is completely dependent on foreign warship design capabilities. The combat fleet of the Ukrainian Navy will consist of almost all ships produced by at least five countries, and Ukrainian-designed and built warships will take up very little.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited part of the Black Sea Fleet of the Soviet Navy. Negotiations on this issue lasted from late 1991 to May 1997. After negotiations ended, Ukraine was “divided” into 43 warships, 132 small boats, 12 aircraft, 30 helicopters, 227 coastal naval facilities, a significant amount of equipment, weapons and ammunition. Among these ships are several frigates, corvettes, missile and artillery ships; as well as a “pearl” Varyag TAVKR, today the Liaoning aircraft carrier in the Chinese Navy.
But the inherited Soviet warships also gradually expired and became obsolete, but what is unforgivable is that Ukraine sold most of this inheritance (most famously the unfinished aircraft carrier Varyag) or destroyed it for scrap.
However, it is also possible to sympathize with the Ukrainian leadership at that time, Russia itself had to reduce the number of surplus warships and bring them into line with the new concept. But the biggest problem was the shipbuilding and maintenance factories of the Black Sea Fleet and the Black Sea Shipping Company have gradually gone bankrupt.
Remember, during the collapse of the Soviet Union the Nikolaev Ocean shipbuilding company alone, at the time had about 10 thousand employees, or almost half of the total number of shipbuilders in Turkey (23 thousand people). If maintained well, these shipyards may turn out a world class shipyards.
But even after the bankruptcy and downsizing of the 1990s, Nikolaev and other Ukrainian shipyards built and repaired hundreds of ships. The same Nikolaev Ocean plant, from 2000 to 2006 built at least 55 ships (bulk carriers, container ships, tankers, tugs, etc).
If normal relations with Russia were maintained, Ukrainian shipbuilders would have received a portion of the order of the Russian Black Sea Fleet without any problems. And Ukraine’s budget will have money to build its own warships.
It’s been 30 years since the Soviet Union collapsed, but Ukraine really doesn’t have a strategy for building up its navy; Ukraine’s leadership is only “struggling” in “liquidating” the assets inherited from the Soviet Union. For example, in the 1990s alone, the Black Sea Shipping Company lost at least 150 ships, estimated at $560 million. The Varyag aircraft carrier was sold to the Chinese as a bunch of scrap metal for $20 million, which was a waste of money for such a ship.
With the new Ukrainian government leaning heavily towards the West, they have publicly announced their roadmap towards joining NATO, so it is no coincidence that all new warships for the Ukrainian Navy, are built by members of the bloc. This military offers. And even if the corvettes are Turkish, the missile weapons on board are American.
In other words, a huge amount of $ 3.7 billion for the construction of the current Ukrainian Navy, as a “gift” to launch NATO, helps bring Ukraine into the “arms” of NATO.
Ukraine’s request for NATO membership is a problem; But the problem that worries Russia, is that after buying billions of dollars in weapons from NATO, these weapons will become part of NATO’s infrastructure in the Black Sea region, Russia’s geostrategic region.