Military Wiki

Question book-new.svg

The factual accuracy of this article may be compromised due to out-of-date information

Ukrainian Naval Forces
Військово-Морські Сили України
Emblem of the Ukrainian Navy.svg
Emblem of the Ukrainian Navy


August 1992–present
Country  Ukraine
Allegiance Constitution of Ukraine
Type Navy
Size 15,470 men

1 frigate
5 corvettes
2 motorboats (artillery and missile)

4 landing crafts

42 ships of support

1 cruiser (under construction)

2 corvettes (under construction)
Headquarters Sevastopol
Colors Blue, Gold         
Anniversaries Navy Day (last Sunday in July).[1] From 1997 till 2011 August 1.[2][3]
Battle honours Ukrainian–Soviet War
2014 Crimean crisis
Rear admiral Serhiy Hayduk
Naval Ensign Ensign of Ukrainian Navy
Naval Jack Naval jack of Ukraine.svg
Naval Jack (1992) Naval Jack of Ukraine (1992).svg

The Ukrainian Naval Forces (Ukrainian language: Військово-Морські Сили України, ВМСУ, Viys’kovo-Mors’ki Syly Ukrayiny, VMSU ) is the navy of Ukraine and part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It was established in 1992.

It consists of 5 branches: surface forces, submarine forces, Navy aviation, coastal rocket-artillery and marines.[4] The Navy numbers 15,470 people.[5]

The navy operates in the Black Sea basin (including Sea of Azov and Danube Delta).[4] Distant operations of the Ukrainian Navy are limited to multinational activities, such as Operation Active Endeavour and Operation Atalanta in the Mediterranean and Horn of Africa.

The Headquarters of the Ukrainian Naval Forces was, until recent events, situated at Sevastopol in Crimea.[4]


  • Main base is in Sevastopol Naval Base at the Striletska Bay within the Bay of Sevastopol
  • Southern Naval Base is located in Novoozerne at the Donuzlav Lake. Formerly known as the Crimean Naval Base
  • Western Naval Base near Odessa


"War for the oath"

Establishment of the Ukrainian Navy and fate of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet is closely entwined with development of Crimean history as part of the independent Ukraine. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the administration of the Soviet Armed Forces was passed to the Joint Armed Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States for a transitional period until an agreement could be reached on division of military between members of the former Soviet Union. Marshal of Aviation Yevgeny Shaposhnikov was placed in charge of the Joint Armed Forces command on February 14, 1992.

Prior to that, on December 6, 1991 the Supreme Council of Ukraine adopted laws of Ukraine "About the Defense of Ukraine" and "About the Armed Forces of Ukraine" as well as adopted the text of military oath by a resolution. On the same day at the session hall of the parliament of Ukraine the first to take the oath was the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Kostyantyn Morozov. On December 10, 1991 the Supreme Council of Ukraine ratified the Belavezha Accords and on December 12, 1991 the President of Ukraine issued ukase #4 ordering to pledge allegiance for all military formations that were based in Ukraine until January 20, 1992. The order was ignored by practically the whole Black Sea Fleet. On January 1, 1992 the newspaper Vympyel of the Black Sea Fleet Training unit of Filipp Oktyabrskiy published the military oath and anthem of Ukraine in the Ukrainian language. At that time the chief editor of the newspaper was Captain-Lieutenant Mykola Huk.

On January 3, 1992 Ukraine started the practical formation of its national armed forces. On January 8, 1992 the officer assembly of the Black Sea Fleet appealed to all leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States that the Black Sea Fleet is an operational-strategic formation and not subordinate to Ukraine. On January 12, 1992 the brigade of border troops in Balaklava (Sevastopol) became the first military formation that pledged allegiance to Ukraine. On January 14, 1992 the Governor of Sevastopol appealed to the Supreme Councils of both Ukraine and the Russian Federation urging faster adoption of a decision on the status of the Black Sea Fleet. On January 16, 1992 an agreement between the participants of Commonwealth of Independent States was signed on the oath in strategic formations.[6] On January 18, 1992 the 3rd company of divers school became the first formation of the Black Sea Fleet to pledge their allegiance to Ukraine along with the Naval Department of Sevastopol Institute of Instrument Engineering. Next day, 46 naval pilots pledged their allegiance to Ukraine at the central square (Ploshcha Lenina) of Mykolaiv.

Black Sea Fleet military personnel being under oath of the Soviet Armed Forces was not quick in pledging allegiance to the newly formed state. Admiral of the Fleet and First Deputy Chief Commander of the Russian Navy Ivan Kapitanets issued a directive: "to officers, midshipmen, warrant officers who create an unhealthy situation in military communities that are prone to treason and taking the oath of allegiance to Ukraine to apply severe sanctions, including dismissal from office and separation from service". Nonetheless, on January 26, the 17th Brigade of Security Ships for the Water District of Crimea Naval Base followed the example of divers.[7] Right before the Soviet Army and Navy Day on February 22, allegiance to Ukraine was pledged by the 880th Separate Battalion of Marines of Black Sea Fleet. The battalion was recognized the best formation of the fleet in 1991. The main headquarters of the Navy in Moscow issued an order to dissolve the battalion. After the incident, all military units of the Black Sea Fleet recruited exclusively Russians. From the beginning the relationship between the newly formed states of Russia and Ukraine were tense. In January 1992 the Supreme Soviet of Russia initiated the question about the political status of Crimea (Crimean ASSR) and the constitutionality of decision on transferring of Crimean Oblast of the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR back in 1954 accusing Nikita Khrushchev of treason against the Russian people. Although never annulled, many Russian parliamentarians refuse to recognize the legal document pointing out the procedural errors during its adoption. The Ukrainian side tried to remind about the number of international treaties and agreements between the two countries such as the November 19, 1990 treaty between the Russian SFSR and the Ukrainian SSR where both side recognized the territorial integrity of each other, as well as the Belavezha Accords (Agreement on creation of the Commonwealth of Independent State) of December 8, 1991 and the Alma-Ata Protocol of December 21, 1991.

Noticing not much reaction from the Black Sea Navy command situated on the territory of Ukraine, on April 5, 1992 the President of Ukraine issued the ukase #209 "About urgent measures on development of the Armed Forces of Ukraine" where it accused the Russian Federation and Joint Armed Forces command in intervening in the internal affairs of Ukraine. On April 6, 1992 a session of the 6th Congress of People's Deputies of the Russian SFSR refused to accept the Belavezha agreement that was previously ratified by the Supreme Council of the Russian SFSR (December 12, 1991). Also on April 6, 1992 the President of Ukraine appointed Borys Kozhyn as the Commander of Ukrainian Navy. Next day on April 7, the President of Russia issued ukase "On transferring of the Black Sea Fleet under jurisdiction of the Russian Federation". On April 9, 1992 the effect of both ukases were suspended until the end of the Russian-Ukrainian talks.

Division of the Black Sea Fleet

In September 1991 an office of the Society of Ukrainian Officers was opened in Sevastopol on the initiative of Major Volodymyr Kholodyuk and captain-lieutenants Ihor Tenyukh and Mykola Huk.[7] The society become the initiator and nucleus of organization of the Ukrainian Navy. On April 7, 1992 at 17:00 37 officers of administration and headquarters of the Crimean Naval Base pledged their allegiance and loyalty to people of Ukraine. Counter Admiral Borys Kozhyn who was in charge of the base was not present at that time of the event. He was in the office of Ivan Yermakov accepting a proposition of the First Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council of Ukraine to become a commander of the future Ukrainian Navy. On April 8, 1992 the Minister of Defense signed a directive "About creation of the Navy of Ukraine". On April 13, 1992 there was created an organizational group on creation of the Ukrainian Navy, which really upset the command of Black Sea Fleet.

The current history of the Ukrainian Naval Forces began on August 1, 1992 when it was formally established by order of the President of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk. This was followed by a long and controversial partition of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet between newly independent Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

One of the episodes of this process was the story of the SKR-112 – effectively the first Ukrainian Navy ship.[8] On July 20, 1992, the crew of SKR-112 declared itself a Ukrainian ship and raised the Ukrainian flag. The Navy headquarters in Moscow considered this a mutiny and attempted to act accordingly. But the ship left its base on the Crimean peninsula for Odessa, causing a chase and ramming attempts by ships still loyal to Moscow. Soon several other ships, auxiliary vessels, and coastal units of the Black Sea Fleet followed SKR-112's decision but with less violent outcomes.

It was only in 1997 that the ships and equipment of the Black Sea Fleet were officially divided between the two countries. The new Russian formation retained its historic name "Black Sea Fleet". It was also granted rights to use the majority of its bases on the Crimea Peninsula, Ukraine on a renewable ten-year lease at least until 2017. The newly established Ukrainian Naval Forces received dozens of vessels (mostly obsolete or inoperative) and some shore-based infrastructure. However, the Russian Navy lost several important facilities, most notably the NITKA (Russian acronym for "Scientific testing simulator for shipborne aviation") naval aviation training facility in Saky, and the special forces base in Ochakiv. The process of fleet division remains painful since many aspects of the two navies' co-existence are under-regulated, causing recurring conflicts.

The Krivak class frigate Hetman Sahaydachniy is the current flagship of the Ukrainian navy.[9]

Since 1997 most of the Ukrainian naval units were scrapped or poorly maintained. By 2009, only the frigate Hetman Sahaydachniy was capable of long endurance missions.[10]

Joint exercises of the Ukrainian Navy and the Russian Black Sea Fleet where resumed after a seven-year interval in 2010.[11]

Most of the Ukrainian navy, as with the other branches of the armed forces, is still mostly made up of Soviet-era equipment and no major plan of modernization has been presented yet, except for a new corvette design that was completed in 2009.[12]

On December 19, 2008 United States Ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor, Jr. stated that Ukrainian Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov and US Defense Secretary Robert Gates were discussing the purchase by Ukraine of one to three U.S. Navy frigates.[13]

In December 2009 the design for a new corvette (designed exclusively by Ukraine and to be built at Ukrainian shipyards) for the Ukrainian Navy was completed.[14] That month the Ukrainian defense ministry and Chernomorsky Shipyard (Mykolaiv) signed a contract upon results of the governmental tender for corvettes. Shipbuilding Research and Design Center (Mykolaiv) was selected the project developer.

The ship is supposed to operate in the Black and the Mediterranean seas; her endurance will be 30 days, displacement is 2,500 tons. Leading European arms manufacturers like DCNS, MBDA, and EuroTorp will deliver weapons for the ambitious project. Commissioning of the lead ship is scheduled in 2016. It is planned to build 4 corvettes till 2021. According to the corvette construction program approved by Ukrainian government in March 2011, overall amount of program financing till 2021 will be about UAH 16.22 bln.

Current role

The Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is aimed at defense of sovereignty and state interests of Ukraine in the sea. It is required to neutralize enemy naval groups in its operational zone both alone and with other branches of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and provide assistance from the sea to the Ground Forces during their operations. Main tasks of the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are the:[4]

  • creation and maintenance of the combat forces on a level, sufficient to deter maritime aggression;
  • neutralization of enemy naval forces;
  • destruction of enemy transportation;
  • support of the landing of amphibious forces and fight against enemy amphibious forces;
  • maintenance of a beneficial operational regime in the operational zone;
  • defense of its bases, sea lines of communications;
  • protection of submarine space within the territorial sea;
  • protection of the merchant fleet, maritime oil and gas industry, and other state maritime activity;
  • assistance to the Army in their conduct of operations (military actions) along maritime axes;
  • participation in peacekeeping operations.


Name Rank Period of command
Borys Kozhyn Vice Admiral April 7, 1992 – October 1993
Volodymyr Bezkorovainy Vice Admiral October 1993 – October 1996
Mykhailo Yezhel Admiral October 28, 1996 – May 20, 2003
Ihor Kniaz Vice Admiral May 21, 2003 – March 23, 2006
Ihor Tenyukh Admiral March 23, 2006 – March 18, 2010
Viktor Maksimov Vice Admiral March 18, 2010 – July 27, 2012
Yuriy Ilyin Admiral July 27, 2012 - March 1, 2014[15]
Denis Berezovsky Rear Admiral March 1, 2014 – March 2, 2014[16]
Serhiy Hayduk Rear Admiral March 2, 2014–present[17]

On March 2, during the 2014 Crimean crisis the newly appointed Berezovsky defected to the breakaway Crimean government; the central Ukrainian government put him under investigation for treason and appointed Hayduk.

Ranks and insignia


  • Military administration
  • Combatants
  • Amphibious ships
  • Mine-sweeping ships
Special operations
  • Combat swimmers
  • Anti-sabotage unit

Major ships and vessels

Left to right, U402 Konstantyn Olshansky, U401 Kirovohrad, U154 Kahovka, U209 Ternopil, U153 Pryluky.

Zaporizhzhia (U-01)

According to Navy Commander Vice Admiral Yuriy Ilyin, at the beginning of 2013, the fleet had 11 warships fully ready to perform complex tasks, and ten aircraft and 31 supply vessels in working order.[18]

The Navy 2008/09 consisted of(this list is not up to date and it is not De facto state of Ukraine Navy on 20.03.2014.[19][20] ) :

Surface vessels

Auxiliary vessels

  • Over 20 naval support vessels including:
    • 2  Soviet Union Toplivo class logistics tankers
    • 1  Soviet Union Hydrographic vessel (U635 Skvyra Hydographic cutter)
    • 1  Soviet Union Moma class small intelligence ship
    • 1  Soviet Union Muna class costal survey ship
    • 1  Soviet Union Bambuk class command ship

Aircraft inventory

A Ukrainian Naval Aviation Ka-27 preparing for take off from the USS Taylor

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service Notes
Antonov An-26 Curl  Soviet Union Transport An-26 7
Mil Mi-8 Hip  Soviet Union Transport Helicopter Mi-8 8
Mil Mi-14 Haze  Soviet Union anti-submarine Helicopter Mi-14PL 5
Beriev Be-12 Mail  Soviet Union Maritime patrol aircraft Be-12 6
Kamov Ka-29 Helix-B  Soviet Union Assault transport helicopter Ka-29 16
Kamov Ka-27 Helix  Soviet Union anti-submarine Helicopter Ka-27/-28 21


The headquarters and Main Naval Base of the Ukrainian Navy are located in Sevastopol.[4] The base is also home to the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy.

Other naval bases

In selected locations are situated several naval support elements:

  • Chornomorske
  • Feodosiya
  • Izmail
  • Mykolaiv
  • Myrnyi (Donuzlav Lake)
  • Ochakiv
  • Saky[4]
  • Yevpatoria

Ukraine Naval Infantry

The Ukrainian Marine Corps (Ukrainian: Морська піхота literally means "Naval Infantry") is a branch of the Ukrainian Navy. It is used as a component part of amphibious, airborne and amphibious-airborne operations, alone or in accordance with formations and units of the Army in order to capture parts of the seashore, islands, ports, fleet bases, coast airfields and other coast objects of the enemy. It can also be used to defend naval bases, vital areas of the shore, separate islands and coast objects and provide security in hostile areas.


  1. President signs Decree On Celebration of Some Memorable Dates and Professional Holidays[dead link] , (30 December 2011)
  2. The Global Road Warrior: 100 Country Handbook for the International Business Traveler by Joe Reif, World Trade Press, 2001, ISBN 1-885073-86-0
  3. Ukraine Intelligence & Security Activities and Operations Handbook, International Business Publications, USA, 2009, ISBN 0-7397-1661-1
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 "The Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine". 1996-08-17. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  5. (Ukrainian) Ukrainian Armed Forces 2007 White Book p.111
  6. "Text of the agreement on oath in the strategic formations". 1992-01-16. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Ukrainian Navy History, Website
  8. Ukrainian Navy, Website
  9. Kozhara: Hetman Sahaidachny frigate to join NATO’s anti-piracy operation[dead link] , Interfax-Ukraine (17 September 2013)
  10. "The Destruction of a Squadron. A sequel". Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  11. Ukraine and Russia to resume joint naval exercises[dead link] , ITAR-TASS (March 12, 2010)
  12. John Pike. "Ukraine Navy". Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  13. The Washington Charter on Strategic Partnership confirms guarantees of Ukraine's security, says U.S. ambassador, Interfax-Ukraine (22 December 2008)
  14. Yushchenko pressed for the development of a new Ukrainian corvette, Interfax-Ukraine (October 12, 2009)
  15. ITAR-TASS 1114 GMT 18 March 2010
  16. "Контр-Адмірала Дениса Березовського Призначено Командувачем Військово-Морських Сил Збройних Сил України". 2006-04-05. Archived from the original on 2014-03-01. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  17. Rear Admiral D.V.Berezovsky was dismissed from duty as commander of the Naval Forces of of Ukraine. Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. March 2, 2014
  18. Commander:Ukrainian Navy to have 11 ships, 10 aircraft, 31 vessels by end of 2012, Kyiv Post (30 November 2012)

External links and further reading

Navy page on the official site of the Ministry of Defence: in English, in Ukrainian

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).