On Thursday, 21 November 2013, NATO and the Ukrainian Navy formally signed a Memorandum of Understanding sealing the country’s participation in the Alliance’s counter-piracy operation OCEAN SHIELD.
This event occurred as the Chief of the Ukrainian Navy, Admiral Yurii Ilin, is attending the NATO Maritime Commanders Conference (MARCOMET) in Central London alongside with 20 Heads of Navy, 54 international delegations and 127 distinguished guests; including NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Philip Breedlove.
The signature is the final step in formalising Ukraine’s operational contribution to NATO which began three months ago with an exchange of official letters between Kiev and the Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM). On 10 October 2013, this led to the Ukrainian Navy committing one of its warships, UPS HETMAN SAGAIYDACHNIY, to NATO’s counter-piracy Task Force 508. This was the first time in the history of NATO that a Partner Nation was contributing with a naval unit to the counter-piracy operation.
“This celebrates a very successful partnership between Ukraine and the Alliance,” said Vice Admiral Peter Hudson, Commander Allied Maritime Command. “Since the beginning of her deployment, UPS HETMAN SAGAIYDACHNIY has already disrupted a pirate action group in the Gulf of Aden on 18 November, thus contributing to the security of international shipping in the region. I am personally delighted that our efforts to work together at the highest level are now translating into a very satisfactory cooperation at the operational one.”
Press Release, November 22, 2013; Image: NATO