Royal Navy divers share expertise with Ukrainian Navy


Royal Navy divers have shared essential expertise on mine clearance with the Ukrainian Navy.

The instructors from the Defence Diving School on Horsea Island in Portsmouth headed to the eastern Ukrainian city of Berdyansk, on the coast off the Sea Azov, to deliver mine counter-measures training.

It was the first time sessions like this have been delivered by the UK in this region and is part of an on-going international effort to support Ukraine.

The small UK team taught various techniques, from the preparation of diving equipment to practical lessons in mine clearance.

We are proud to be working with and building the capacity of our allies and partners, and by doing so supporting our own national interests.

This now gives the Ukrainians the ability to pass on the knowledge and train their own people in this vital capability.

“We hope this will go some way to help train their divers so they can protect their shores,” Warrant Officer Simon Murray, who, alongside colleague Petty Officer Simon Days, delivered the course.

“We are proud to be working with and building the capacity of our allies and partners, and by doing so supporting our own national interests.”

The Ukrainian Navy is looking to recover following heavy losses to its personnel and knowledge as it faces the real threat of Russian-laid sea mines along its shores.

This latest training follows on from a course delivered in June by Royal Navy instructors at the Naval Training Centre in Mykolaiv, near the Black Sea in the south of Ukraine, which was the first course of its kind since the extension of a UK joint training mission.

Captain Olexei Nesterov, is one of the few remaining diving specialists in the Ukrainian Navy and hosted the training in Berdyansk.

“We have had to start from the beginning, from ground zero,” he said. “I’d like to say thank you very much for our international colleagues especially the UK. There is no way for us to do everything by ourselves, with your help will we be able to change our situation.”

“It was great to work with Captain Nesterov and teach the Ukrainians some of our training techniques,” added WO Murray.