Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
Should Ukraine return its ships from Crimea, then Kiev will lose a instrument of pressure on the Russian Federation. This was stated on the air of the “112 Ukraine” TV channel by the vice admiral and former commander of the Naval Forces of Ukraine Sergey Gayduk.
“The formation of the Ukrainian Navy happened due to the distribution of the Black Sea Fleet of the former Soviet Union. And here very serious tendencies appear that are worth thinking about. At the time we received 140 pennants: ships, boats, and support vessels, but during the time of independence we wrote off 65 of them for scrap metal, and of the projects of the former Soviet Union – so-called long-term constructions, we completed only 5. This is the first position. Imagine these impressive figures for the dismantlement of the fleet,” noted the vice admiral.
He also stressed that if Ukraine takes away their ships equipped with Russian equipment, then European partners will refuse to put pressure on Russia.
“The ship is a very complex design that is equipped with different equipment. The fact is that approximately 70% those ships that remained in Crimea are in general equipped with Russian weapons and equipment. And then there is a question: with import substitution problems, if we take away these ships we will lose an argument in international institutions where we submitted our claim. I.e., international institutions will say: ‘you, after all, agreed among yourselves, you took away your ships, so there are no problems. Continue to work’,” considers Gayduk.
As a reminder, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin at the beginning of this year suggested to return the ships, jets, and armoured equipment that remained on the peninsula to Ukraine. At the same time he also noted that combat vehicles are “in a deplorable state”. One day later the press secretary of the Russian leader Dmitry Peskov called Putin’s proposal a gesture of good will and an attempt “to put the process of the Ukrainian settlement in motion”.
Responding to Putin’s proposal, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Vladimir Groisman urged the Russian leader to return the peninsula to the structure of Ukraine.
The president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, in turn, in February also said that Kiev will take away the military equipment abandoned in Crimea only together with the peninsula.
“We for sure are ready to accept the ships from Crimea, and it is not about whether there are or are not repairs, whether or not there is completeness, or something else. We are ready to accept the ships from Crimea only together with Crimea. I am confident that this is the unanimous position of both the Ukrainian authorities, the Ukrainian people, and Ukrainian society,” said the president.
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