Ukraine will take a more active stand in maintaining peace and global security by participating in the international peacekeeping and, the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Andriy Kluyiev said, commenting on the intention of the Ukrainian militaries to join the Ocean Shield international operation against piracy, ForUm learned from the NSDCU press service.

According to him, the fight against sea piracy is an issue of high priority for Ukraine. Over the past 3.5 years pirates captured more than four dozen ships with nearly two hundred of the Ukrainian citizens on board, Kluyiev said.

He reminded that Ukraine joined the EU anti-piracy naval operation "Atalanta" in November 2010. In addition, according to him, the Ukrainian Navy is an active participant in the Mediterranean NATO operation "Active Endeavour" in the fight against illegal migration, illegal trafficking of weapons and drugs.

Already this year, the Ukrainian aircraft has participated in the EU operation "Atalanta" carrying out observation flights over the water area. In 2013, Hetman Sagaidachnyi frigate with a ship-based helicopter and a group of Special Forces on board will participate in the international operation "Ocean Shield" off the coast of Somalia.

In his opinion, Ukraine's participation in such operations is not only a contribution to global security, but also a good experience for the Ukrainian militaries. The official also noted that counties start holding anti-piracy trainings more and more often, and "Sea Breeze" operation being held in Ukraine's Odesa is one of such training courses.

Kluyiev also informed that annual losses from pirate attacks number billions of dollars. According to the NSDC secretary, the piracy menace can be minimized only by joint efforts of various countries.
It makes ForUm wonder whether Ukraine should participate in such military campaign and whether our militaries are ready for the fight against pirates. Military experts, diplomats and MPs were kind to respond our question.

Oleksandr Kuzmuk, former defense minister (1996-2001), current MP of the Party of Regions faction, head of the parliamentary subcommittee on defense:

- It would be strange if Ukrainian navy stayed idle taking into account our sad experience with sea pirates. We all remember our marines being held in captivity. Back then, we were hoping for international help, but we can no longer stand apart.

Ukrainian militaries are quite ready for the fight, as they repeatedly participated in various international trainings, including the "Sea Breeze" military exercises. I believe the preparation level of our marines is no worse than of those from NATO. Unfortunately, the problem is that our marines not always can reveal their full potential as the financing of our Armed Forces is limited.

Volodymyr Ohryzko, former foreign minister of Ukraine:

- From the political point of view, the participation of Ukrainian militaries in anti-pirate campaign is necessary and expedient. It means that we share the policy of other civilized countries and are ready to solve jointly the security issues. It is also an opportunity to improve Ukraine's image.
From the military point of view, it means we join the cooperation within NATO countries, and it is a positive issue. We might have financial problems, but as far as I know, Ukraine will be partially compensated. As for the preparation level of our marines, I don't think there will be any problems.

Oleksiy Melnyk, co-director of foreign policy and international security department of the Rasumkov economic and political research center:

- Despite certain problems with military training and combat readiness, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have special departments ready for participation in anti-pirate campaigns. Now Ukraine is hosting "Sea Breeze" international military exercises. By the end of the training, all of the participants will receive the so-called certification mark from NATO, confirming the preparation level meets the standards.

Besides, Ukrainian forces will not act alone, but in cooperation with other forces. Such operations are meaningful for Ukraine from any point of view. First, the campaign is aimed at protection of life and health of our fellow citizens - sailors suffering from pirate attacks. Second, the campaign is very important for the development of international cooperation and strengthening of Ukraine's influence on the international arena. Third, it is a unique opportunity to gain experience in the field.

Oleksandr Paliy, political scientist, international expert:

- We remember that Ukrainian citizens were repeatedly captured by pirates, and Kyiv even had to pay ransom. However, it is not the only reason.

Such campaigns will improve the international image of Ukraine. There are three-four dozens of countries in the world, which can afford to send ships thousands of kilometers far. And as far as Ukraine is one of them, we must demonstrate it. Moreover, Ukraine will be able to combine the non-aligned policy and the cooperation with NATO. I believe it will be useful experience for our militaries.

Oleksandr Suchko, director of the Peace, Defense Conversion and Foreign Policy Center of Ukraine:

- First of all, Ukraine should counteract the threat to the economic and security interests of our fellow citizens, and pirate attacks are one of such menaces.

However, such sea activity is new for both Ukraine and the world. I think that participation in the campaign is a chance for our country to keep up with the world community and to challenge new menaces.


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