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Ukraine to form new patrol boat squadron with former US Coast Guard boats

Ex-USCG Island-class boat in Ukrainian Navy service
Ukrainian Navy photo of Starobilsk

Ukraine is preparing to stand up an Island-class patrol boat squadron by the end of year after it receives three more boats in the class from the United States.

Ukrainian Navy sailors are already in the US for training on two of the former US Coast Guard (USCG) patrol boats in Baltimore, Maryland, which will be delivered to Ukraine later this year.

Sumy (former Ocracoke) and Fastiv (former Washington) are the third and fourth such vessels the USCG has provided to Ukraine under the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program in recent years. The first two boats, Starobilsk (former Drummond) and Sloviansk (former Cushing), were handed over to Ukraine in 2019.

The fifth boat that will be delivered is the former Kiska, but is yet to be named by the Ukrainian Navy. It is also still undergoing modifications, before Ukrainian crews start training on it later this year.

In January 2021, multiple Ukrainian Navy crews came to Baltimore for 10 weeks of training on the Sumy and Fastiv before the boats are delivered to Ukraine later this fall. The training consisted of both intensive classroom work with Coast Guard instructors and a lot of hands-on time on the boats practicing core tasks like basic seamanship, maintenance, and firefighting.

The boats will arrive in Ukraine with US-made ship systems installed on board and combat modules with 30 mm guns, optoelectronic control systems and other equipment.

Ukrainian naval personnel and their American trainers pose in front of Sumy on graduation day. Photo: US Coast Guard

With the Island-class patrol boat transfers, the US continues to provide Ukraine with vessels that are urgently needed to replace those seized, held, or destroyed by the Russian military during the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

In addition to the Island-class boats, the US is also building new MK VI patrol boats for the country and continues to support the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

Since 2014, the United States has committed more than $2.5 billion in training and equipment to help Ukraine preserve its territorial integrity, secure its borders, and improve interoperability with NATO.

Additionally, since 2017, the State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation has provided over $17 million in non-security assistance (nonproliferation, anti-terrorism, demining, and related programs (NADR)) support to the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine’s Maritime Border Guard Detachment. These efforts help Ukraine preserve its sovereignty and, territorial integrity, and to counter Russian aggression in the Sea of Azov and Black Sea through small-boat interdiction and Rapid Response Units.