Ukraine is grappling with rebuilding its naval force, which was decimated by Russia, amidst ongoing ship blockades in the Black Sea.
Challenges ahead: Ukraine is struggling with several challenges as it rebuilds its naval fleet in the midst of a war.
* Tasked with guarding against Russian sea-launched missile strikes, Ukraine is also working to ensure the safe passage of its wheat and corn exports.
* Russia seized or destroyed a large portion of Ukraine’s navy during the 2014 invasion and again at the start of its full-scale invasion last year.
Shipping constraint: Russia’s dominance of the Northern Black Sea has hindered Ukraine’s grain export efforts.
* Since July 17, Russia has been blocking the export of Ukraine’s grain, which is essential for many countries across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
* According to James Foggo, a retired U.S. admiral, without a significant naval presence in the Black Sea, dealing with these threats is a significant issue.
Naval Rebuild Efforts: Ukraine’s efforts for rebuilding and resisting have been showcased in different ways.
* On a recent visit arranged for an NPR reporter, Ukraine showcased one of about a dozen river patrol boats, supplied by the U.S., as part of its rebuilding efforts.
* Furthermore, Ukraine fired a missile from the mainland, sinking the Russian flagship in the Black Sea last year.
A bleak outlook: Despite these efforts, Ukraine’s ability to fully restore its navy seems bleak with the ongoing war.
* Ukraine intentionally scuttled its last major warship to avoid it being captured by Russia.
* However, “without some sort of Black Sea fleet, Ukraine will never be free of Russian domination,” says Foggo.
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