Two warships belonging to the countries of the North Atlantic Alliance, on Friday, June 18, entered Odessa seaport.
According to Odessa-based Dumskaya online publication with reference to its own correspondent, British destroyer HMS Defender D36 and Dutch HNMLS Eversten F805 entered the port. The ships were escorted by the port tugboats Bulat and Patriot.
“This is not the first time that British Type 45 destroyers have been to Odessa – a few years ago HMS Duncan [2017 and 2019] and HMS Dragon  visited us, but the Defender is in the Black Sea for the first time. The Defender joined the Royal Navy in March 2013. The total displacement is 8,500 tonnes, length is 152 meters, width is 21, draught is over 7 meters, and speed is over 30 knots,” the journalists said.
They add that the Defender is equipped with such naval gun systems as a 114-mm Mark 8 Mod, a pair of 20-mm Mark 15 Phalanx and two 30-mm Oerlikon.
“Missile armament is 2×4 launchers for Harpoon anti-ship missiles and 48 launchers for Aster-15 or Aster-30 missiles. There are two Lynx helicopters or one Merlin in the hangar,” the message said.
It notes that the Eversten entered the Black Sea region in 2019, but visited Trabzon, Poti and Constanta. The ship joined the Netherlands Navy in June 2005. Its length is 144 meters, width is 19, and draught is 5 meters. Total displacement is over 6,000 tonnes, its crew consists of over 200 people, and speed is over 28 knots.
The artillery armament of the Dutch vessel consists of one 127-mm main-caliber gun, a seven-barreled 30-mm gun Goalkeeper, a pair of Oerlikon, and Browning machine guns.
“Missile armament consists of eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles and 40 vertical launch launchers MK41 for the Standard SM2 missile defense system SM2 Block IIIA [32 missiles ammunition], Sea Sparrow RIM-7R [four cells, 32 missiles ammunition]. Torpedo armament consists of two twin-tube 324-mm torpedo tubes MK32 [for torpedoes MK46]. There is an NH-90 helicopter in the hangar,” the journalists said.
It is noted that the ships are part of the escort of the newest British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth, which recently launched a round-the-world voyage, and shortly before entering Odesa, they both conducted joint maneuvers with American destroyer USS Laboon DDG58.
All Ukrainian national personnel of NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan returned to Ukraine from June 1 to June 5.
“The planned return took place due to the decision of the NATO side to terminate the mission, which was adopted on April 14, 2021, following a meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of foreign ministers and defense ministers of the Mission’s contributing states,” the Defense Ministry of Ukraine said.
In total, the NATO mission in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan included 21 servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The main tasks of the Ukrainian national personnel included fulfilling duties as staff officers at the mission headquarters; conducting engineering reconnaissance of traffic routes, objects and terrain; implementation of measures to counter the use of improvised explosive devices and the disposal of explosive objects, and others.
“The experience gained in fulfilling the tasks of NATO-led Resolute Support Mission will be used by Ukrainian servicemen at home. In particular, carrying out tasks for the purpose of countering the Russian armed aggression in the area of the Joint Force Operation,” the Defense Ministry said.
NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan launched on 1 January 2015 as part of the implementation of the decisions of the Alliance Summit in Chicago (May 2012) to provide the Afghan government with further assistance in the development of the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces.
“Resolute Support” in Afghanistan officially replaced another International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operation, which ended on December 28, 2014.
Ukrainian specialists will take part in the NATO mission in Iraq and the Maritime Guard operation in the Mediterranean sea, said Yuriy Vasyliev, deputy director of the department, head of the European and Euro-Atlantic integration department of the International Defense Cooperation Department of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. “Ukraine has been a contributor to international security throughout its years of independence, and we continue, despite the aggression that we have, our contributions to missions and operations under NATO command. Now we have specialists who are in a Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and in the forces in Kosovo. But taking into account our recent proposals that have been accepted, we are now preparing to send our specialists to another two operations: the NATO mission in Iraq and the Alliance’s operation Maritime Guard,” Vasyliev said at an online conference on Tuesday.
He stressed that the Ukrainian military, hardened in battles to defend independence and territorial integrity, will be participants in these operations.
Vasyliev also pointed out that, given the status of a partner with expanded capabilities, Ukraine will be involved in five NATO exercises, which will be held on the topic of collective defense.
In addition, he noted that work is now underway to increase the level of Ukraine’s representation in the governing bodies and command structures of the Alliance.
“We are entering a new stage and will work this year, hopefully in the second half of the year, to send our civilian representative of the Ministry of Defense as a so-called voluntary national contribution,” Vasyliev explained.
NATO member countries should actively help Ukraine, said Secretary General of the Alliance Jens Stoltenberg on Monday.
I urge all allies to provide more assistance to Ukraine in practice, he said during his speech in London.
Speaking about Kyiv’s desire for rapprochement with NATO, Stoltenberg noted that the reforms that Ukraine urgently needs will play an important role in this regard.