During a working visit to the Odesa region, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy took part in solemn events on the occasion of the Day of the Naval Forces of Ukraine, which took place at the Odesa Maritime Station.
"Today as the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, as a patriot and first of all as a citizen of Ukraine, I am happy to be here, with you - the guardians of our state! And I’m happy to congratulate you on this great holiday - the Day of Naval Forces,” said the President during a speech.
According to tradition, solemn events began with a moment of silence honoring the memory of military sailors who defended the homeland at the cost of their own life.
The Head of State noted that the Navy of the Armed Forces are gradually becoming a powerful force that combines professional skills, high morale of personnel, effective weapons and techniques.
"The power of the national fleet, along with other troops of Ukraine, is a support for our diplomacy on the way to the restoration of peace and territorial integrity of Ukraine," Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized.
According to him, against the backdrop of Russian armed aggression, the combat capable naval forces are one of the most important components of Ukraine's defense capability and security and an important factor in military-political reality in the Black Sea Region.
"Therefore, one of my major priorities at the post of President of Ukraine is to build powerful naval forces equipped with modern ships and modern weapons, ready to respond adequately to challenges and threats to our national security," the President said.
According to the Head of State, in order to revive the Ukrainian Navy, the reform of the Naval Military Office bodies under NATO standards was held in recent years.
"Ukraine, along with the USA, Great Britain, Turkish Republic and many other countries - our friends, actively implements joint large-scale projects on the renewal of our fleet, the development of modern naval infrastructure, personnel training," he said.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized that the Naval Base "East" in Berdyansk on the northwest coast of the Sea of Azov increases capacity and actively builds its infrastructure, and the Navy on the Azov is reinforced by two more combat boats.
In addition, in the Pivdennyi port of the Black Sea coast, an infrastructure for basing patrol boats is formed, the management of the division of ships was deployed, two boats of Island type are based. Reinforcement is also expected - at least three boats that are currently being upgraded in the United States.
"Next year, the American side will begin transferring high-speed combat boats "Mark-6" to Ukraine,” said the President.
Also, according to him, the Memorandum of Cooperation between Ukraine and Great Britain signed in 2020 is being filled with concrete actions. And shortly, the Ukrainian fleet will be reinforced by anti-mine ships and modern missile boats.
"Strengthening of our maritime aviation is also successful. We expect to get modern and effective unmanned aerial vehicles "Bayraktar" shortly. Ukrainian crews for them are already completing training in the Republic of Turkey," said the Head of State.
In addition, in Turkey, the first corvette framework for the Navy of Ukraine was built. It will be completed in the Ukrainian shipyard by the end of 2023, added the President.
Also, an active increase in the combat capabilities of the Ukrainian military fleet will be continued due to domestic weapons and military equipment.
Marine infantry in cooperation with international partners continues to improve combat training, increases the landfill infrastructure and permanent dislocation points infrastructure.
"Today, the personnel of our naval forces jointly with the warriors of partner countries continues to increase the maritime power during the international exercises "Sea Breeze 2021”. This year they are the largest in their history," Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted.
According to him, in these exercises, except Ukraine and the United States, representatives of the United Kingdom, Turkey, Germany, France, Georgia, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Canada, Australia, Israel, Italy, Denmark, Sweden , UAE, Japan and many other NATO and partner countries of Ukraine take part.
"I'm glad to welcome all of you - all of our friends - on today's holiday! These exercises are a regular exam for Ukrainian military sailors in terms of interoperability with the best fleets of the world and the quality of their actions in a multinational team," the President said.
He emphasized that "Sea Breeze - 2021" demonstrates unity in confronting military threats beind increased in the Black Sea Region due to its militarization and aggressive actions of the Russian Federation.
"This shows everyone that we will not allow the restriction of freedom of navigation in the Black Sea and usurpation of the sovereign right of Ukraine as a sea, coastal state," said the President.
Charge’d’affaires a.i. of the United States in Ukraine Kristina Kvien noted that the "Sea Breeze” is a manifestation of cooperation in the field of maritime security of Ukraine, the USA and 32 other participating countries.
"The ships we see here are only one of the manifestations of what the United States doess to help Ukraine in ensuring its safety," she emphasized.
Kristina Kvien said that last week she visited Berdyansk, where she took part in the opening of a new deployment area for the division of rapid response of the Maritime Security Service of Ukraine.
She reminded that in Ochakiv, Mykolaiv region, the construction battalions of the US Naval Forces built operative, auxiliary, as well as repair facilities for the Ukrainian fleet and work on an increase in the quality of infrastructure on this base.