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The participation of Ukrainians in Atalanta becomes clearer


(BRUSSELS2) The Ukrainian forces seem determined to participate decisively in the EU operation against piracy (Eunavfor Atalanta).

Ukraine, which was planning to send 30 Alpha special forces men, seems to have moved up a gear. Last November, the Ukrainian national defense and security council adopted the principle of participating in the Eunavfor operation. The Minister of Foreign Affairs proposed to organize the protection of Ukrainian ships by sending a contingent of 30 men from the Alpha (*) special forces. This decision was endorsed by the signature of President Viktor Yushchenko, on a decree, on January 20. Ukraine could also participate more significantly with a building. And not just any.

The Ukrainians could thus send to the Indian Ocean, under European command, according to our colleagues from Kommersant, the flagship of their navy, the flagship destroyer Hetman Sagaydachniy, equipped with a helicopter (a Ka-27 Helix normally), several missile or rocket launcher ramps (**). Cost for the Ukrainian budget about 35-45 million UAH (between 3 and 4 million euros). This would be the first participation of a Ukrainian contingent of any size in a European mission. But not the first participation of this vessel in international manoeuvres, since it took part in Active Endeavor, NATO's counter-terrorist mission in the Mediterranean, in June 2008.

It must be said that Ukrainian sailors, when they are not Ukrainian boats (the Faina), pay a fairly heavy price for piracy. Several dozen Ukrainian sailors are, or were detained by the pirates, on board the ships they have captured in recent months. These include: MV Delvina, St James Park, VLCC Maran Centaurus, MV Asian Glory.

(*) Read :
25 Ukrainians from Alfa commandos in EU anti-piracy operation
(**) Read the detailed description on the Mer & Marine website (photo: Cdr. Alex Shtaltovniy, UKR Navy- NATO)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).