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British Navy to give Ukraine two minehunter ships

British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps announced the delivery of minehunter ships to Ukraine on Monday. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps announced the delivery of minehunter ships to Ukraine on Monday. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 11 (UPI) -- The British Royal Navy announced Monday it will send two minehunter ships to Ukraine as it launched a coalition with Norway to boost Kyiv's maritime defenses.

Defense Secretary Grant Shapps was set to announce the delivery of the two Sandown Class mine countermeasures vessels, or MCMVS, in London.

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"These minehunters will deliver vital capability to Ukraine which will help save lives at sea and open up vital export routes, which have been severely limited since [Russian President Vladimir Putin] launched his illegal full-scale invasion," Shapp said in a statement.

"This capability boost marks the beginning of a new dedicated effort by the U.K., Norway and our allies to strengthen Ukraine's maritime capabilities over the long term, enhancing their ability to operate in defending their sovereign waters and bolstering security in the Black Sea."

The British Ministry of Defense said the vessels are being sent in a "maritime coalition" with Norway to help open Ukraine's ability to export.

British officials said the arrangement is expected to be long-term to help Ukraine transform its navy, making it "more interoperable" with NATO while improving its Black Sea security.

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"Our goal is to contribute to building a lasting Ukrainian naval capability. In the further work, I hope Norway, as a sea-faring nation can contribute with maritime expertise, new technological solutions and innovative thinking," Norwegian Defense Minister Bjor Aridld Gram said.

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