Admiral Igor Tenuykh—Ukrainian Navy
By all accounts the world economic crisis has had a significant impact on all spheres of activity in our country, including its armed forces. The 2009 defense budget was lower than had been expected. Consequently, the Ukrainian Navy received only 64 percent of the previous year's budget, with most of its money being spent on social programs. Despite these budget restrictions, the navy's maritime strategy, current operations, and structure have for the most part not been changed.
At this point, Ukraine does not have ambitions to extend a permanent military presence beyond the Black Sea region. Consequently, our maritime strategy is not so ambitious and does not require a significant amount of national resources. The strategy is mostly directed at typical duties including immediate reaction to and neutralization of any kind of threats from the sea and participation in multinational peace support and stability operations in the Black Sea and Mediterranean regions.
In that respect the Ukrainian Navy leadership took all necessary efforts to maintain the navy's ability to fulfill its tasks and objectives. Financial resources have been directed to sustain a sufficient level of sea, air, and ground training to support naval readiness. This allowed us to maintain operational capabilities and retain the core strength of the national naval forces.
In 2009, personnel training was mainly organized as theoretical. During the planning process the number of live training events was reduced to the necessary minimum. All activities were diverted to active use of shore-based training equipment and cold drills alongside the dock. Underway training for ships and aircraft was almost halved. A concentration of resources allowed us to conduct a main readiness training event—an operational exercise involving ships, naval aviation, naval coastal defense troops, and auxiliaries—with interaction of the army and air force.
As a result, we can state that we are holding the navy's readiness status at the required level.
During the last year we also ensured the fulfillment of all Ukrainian international obligations in the security arena. One of our corvettes participated in the NATO-led antiterrorist Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean, and our ships and staff officers participated in BLACKSEAFOR activations under the provisions of the Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group. A national exercise—Trust 2009—and a southern naval base site survey were conducted on the Black Sea under the provisions of the Document on Confidence and Security Building Measures in the Naval Field.
Moreover, the Ukrainian naval infantry battalion successfully carried out a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo as a part of KFOR. Further, we completed NATO Operational Capabilities Concept requirements at NATO Evaluation Level One for the frigate Getman Sagaydachny, corvette Ternopil, and landing ship Kostiantyn Olshansky, as well as NATO Self-evaluation Level One of our Anti-Sabotage Combat Team. All of these units were positively assessed in terms of interoperability with NATO forces and are planned to participate in rotation of the NATO Response Force.
In summary, the world economic crisis has impacted the Ukrainian Navy significantly. However, because of directive efforts of leadership and concentration of available financial resources on decisive elements, we have been able to maintain readiness at the required level.
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