NATO, Ukraine Fight Pirates
Kyiv, April 27, 2012. Ukraine announced its decision to take part in NATO’s anti-pirate operation. Thus, Ukraine has become the first partner country, i.e. non-member of NATO, to join the Ocean Shield. This was stated at the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Brussels, Belgium.
The Alliance welcomed Ukraie’s dedication to send its Hetman Sahaydachnyi warship for participation in the Operation Ocean Shield.The frigate will be assigned to the NATO naval command in 2013, reported Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lieutenant-General Volodymyr Zamana.
In early 2013 Ukraine’s Armed Forces are expected to provide military assets for NATO's Ocean Shield and EU’s Atlanta anti-piracy operations held off the coast of Somalia. Ukraine’s decision to combat sea pirates comes as no surprise since Ukrainian citizens are second in the world by the number of pirate attacks against them. In 2008-2011 pirates attacked 42 vessels carrying 192 Ukrainians. In 2011 there were 11 vessels with 41 Ukrainian crew members captured by the pirates; 36 of them were released and returned to their homeland the same year, according to the report of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) ombudsman. In 2011 alone Somalia sea pirates inflicted USD 7 billion damage to the world economy.
Notably, NATO forces can already boast success in combatting sea pirates. On April 11, 2012, a NATO ship detained 16 suspected pirates after stopping a sailboat off Somalia’s east coast, according to the organization’s official Web site. The vessel has been taken hostage along with its 12-member crew in early March 2012. As part of Ocean Shield operation, warships and aircrafts of the Alliance have been monitoring the waters off the Horn of Africa since August 2009. The operation will continue until the end of 2014.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen invited Ukraine to participate in operations of the Alliance, including the Ocean Shield, during the meeting with the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych in New York City in September 2011. At the meeting General Rasmussen praised Ukraine’s contribution to the NATO’s peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo.