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UK-donated Ukrainian Navy minehunters to operate from base in England

Two former UK Royal Navy minehunters, now serving with the Ukrainian Navy and renamed Cherkasy and Chernihiv, will be based in England’s Portsmouth as they prepare for exercises with the Royal Navy, after Türkiye blocked their passage to the Black Sea back in January.
Ukrainian navy’s Chernihiv and Cherkasy minehunters. Photo via UK Defense Journal.
UK-donated Ukrainian Navy minehunters to operate from base in England

Two former Royal Navy ships, the Sandown-class minehunters HMS Shoreham and HMS Grimsby, now serving with the Ukrainian Navy and renamed Cherkasy and Chernihiv, have arrived in Portsmouth Naval Base, according to the UK Defence Journal.

The UK Royal Navy’s aid said in a press release that the ships “will be based in Portsmouth for the foreseeable future as they prepare for exercises with the Royal Navy alongside the US Navy in UK waters, which will help Ukraine understand how to operate with NATO navies.”

The Ukrainian sailors have undergone 18 months of training with the Royal Navy’s instructors. The plan is for Cherkasy and Chernihiv to eventually operate in the Black Sea, clearing mines from vital sea lanes after Russia’s war in Ukraine ends.

In early January 2024, Türkiye did not allow ships to pass through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits into the Black Sea, citing the 1936 Montreux Convention, which restricts the passage of warships during times of war unless they are based on the Black Sea coast. Türkiye issued a statement reaffirming its principled stance to allegedly prevent the escalation of tension in the Black Sea.

Turkey blocks UK minehunters for Ukraine, citing 1936 Montreux pact

Our pertinent allies have been duly apprised that the mine-hunting ships donated to Ukraine by the United Kingdom will not be allowed to pass through the Turkish Straits to the Black Sea as long as the war continues,” Türkiye said in a statement in January.

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