US State Dept Clears $600M Deal with Ukraine for Patrol Boats, Guns and Sensors

Foreign Affairs

Washington: The US State Department has cleared a potential sale to Ukraine of 16 Mark VI patrol boats and other gear worth $600 million, it was announced on June 17.

The pending sale to Ukraine is the first of its kind since US President Donald Trump was acquitted in February in congressional impeachment proceedings that centred on his administration’s freeze on military aid to Ukraine.

Along with the modern and fast patrol boats, the sale includes various weapons, sensors and communications gear to deter Russia from muscling Ukraine in the contested Kerch Strait and key ports along the Azov Sea.

According to a State Department official, the sale will improve the capability of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to “sustain river and littoral water patrols throughout Ukraine’s [maritime] exclusive economic zone.”

“Ukraine’s military has an urgent need to strengthen its capabilities to patrol and police their EEZ, territorial waters, and protect other maritime interests due to persistent maritime threats posed by the Russia‐led forces in eastern Ukraine and surrounding waters and the credible threat of Russian conventional military maritime attack,” the official said.

The announcement includes 32 MSI Seahawk A2 gun systems; 20 electro-optic/infrared radar, or FLIR systems; 16 Long Range Acoustic Device 5-kilometre range loudspeaker systems; 16 identification, friend or foe systems; 40 MK44 30mm cannons; and unspecified communications and support equipment.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a partner country that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe,” the DSCA announcement read.

Ukraine has depended heavily on US support during a six-year war with Russia-backed separatists in the east of the country that has killed more than 14,000 people.