UK announces drones shipment to Ukraine — Analysis
Ministry of Defence announced that underwater vessels will be used to remove mines near the Ukrainian coast.
On Saturday, the Ministry of Defence announced that the UK would provide Ukraine with underwater drones to help it sweep its mines. This is despite the fact that the country remains in conflict with Russia.
According to the statement, 6 unmanned underwater vehicles will be shipped. In addition, the UK is set to train Ukrainian military personnel on British soil. According to the ministry, three of these drones would be supplied from UK stocks and three others from the defense sector.
The vehicles are designed to be operated “In shallow coastal areas” at a depth of up to 100 meters, the ministry indicated, adding that drones are supposed to identify mines, allowing the Ukrainian Navy to then take them out.
The statement states that the UK and USA will instruct dozens of Ukrainian Navy personnel how to operate drones in the months ahead, with exercises already underway for the first group.
Since Russia and Ukraine reached a deal with Turkey and the UN in late July, mine sweeps have become more urgent. This agreement has allowed for grain exports from Ukraine to be unblocked in the Black Sea. It also aims at maintaining safe routes of transit. In this vein, the UK Ministry of Defence argued that “efforts to get food out of the country continue to be hampered by sea mines left by Russian forces along Ukraine’s coast.”
Ukraine was a large producer of wheat and its deliveries were interrupted by Russia’s military operations in neighboring states in February. The disruption to shipments has been blamed on one side or the other.
It is believed that the Ukrainian soldiers who are going to be trained in drone operation will also join those on UK soil. The Royal Navy announced that 80 Ukrainian sailors were being trained to use machinery on ships and also learn damage control drills. The navy announced at the same time that Kiev would be selling two Sandown-class minehunters.
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