This it the video showing Royal Navy survey ship HMS Echo (H87) entering the Ukrainian port of Odessa port in a show of strength amid tensions with Russia.
Fully armed British Navy sailors can be seen on board the vessel in the clip which was posted by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence.
Royal Navy survey ship HMS Echo (H87) docked in Odessa on Tuesday and the press office of the Odessa sea port said in a statement: “On December 19th between 10.00 and 11.00 Royal Navy survey ship HMS Echo (H87) entered the harbour of Odessa port.
“Agreement to this visit was achieved on 21st November 2018 during Ukrainian minister of Defence Stepan Poltorak’s visit to London. Back then Gavin Williamson, Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Defence stated that ‘a ship will be sent to the Black Sea to ensure the freedom of seafaring’.”
In the video, the HMS Echo can be seen entering the port with Royal Navy sailors stood by mounted machine guns as the boat docks.
After the HMS Echo (H87) was docked Commander Matt Warren, the captain of HMS Echo met with Vice-Admiral Andriy Tarasov, deputy chief of the Ukrainian Naval Forces.
The Ukrainian Naval Forces press-office said Vice-Admiral Tarasov expressed his gratitude to his colleagues from the UK for their support. He said that Great Britain is among the first who comes to help when it is needed and is a reliable ally in tough situations. Matt Warren expressed “words of supports to Ukraine and the Ukrainian Navy seamen being held by Russia”.
Matt Warren stated that this visit is another step from the United Kingdom in support of Ukraine and emphasised how crucial it is to unite efforts to ensure safety in the Black Sea region.
According to local media the ship will stay in Odessa until December 22nd, after which it will reportedly take part in PASSEX training with the flagship of Ukrainian Navy, frigate Hetman Sahaydachniy.
Reports state that the HMH Echo (H87) will remain in Ukraine for some time but the 1936 Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits makes it clear that military ships of non-Black Sea states can only stay in the Black Sea for 21 days. It is expected that after this period HMS Echo will be replaced by its sister ship HMS Enterprise.
Tension between Russian and Ukraine reached a peak after the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) coast guard fired on and captured three Ukrainian Navy vessels which were on their way from Odessa to the port of Mariupol through the Kerch Strait on 25th November.
Twenty four Ukrainian navy men were arrested by the Russian authorities and they have been accused of illegal crossing the Russian state border. They are currently being held in prison in the Russian capital Moscow.
HMH Echo and its sister ship are designed to conduct survey operations in support of submarines or amphibious operations.