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The Royal Navy in Odessa

July 25, 2017

The visit of HMS Duncan to Odessa is worthy of a blog entry.

It is worthy because it has been well over a decade since the Royal Navy docked in Odessa.  That is happened to be HMS Duncan, the most recent addition to the Royal Navy (baring the next aircraft carrier yet to enter service) and thus only several years old is also a bonus for those allowed aboard and to poke around in important mission critical rooms.  Everything is still shiny and new and works.  It is also about as big (9000 tonnes) as they come regarding the Montreux (Black Sea) Agreement (a limit of 10,000 tonnes).

Ergo it follows a few lines of gratitude are required to UK Ambassador Gough, the ship’s Commanding Officer Eleanor Stack, and the two senior Ops Officers for both the personal and personable hours given.

A reader can possibly only wonder at the (if not exactly misogynistic, nor quite “Homo Sovieticus”, then certainly) “dated” questions (in the absence of the blog) posed to those two powerful ladies with regard to UK policy,  the Royal Navy, leadership, discipline, “women’s issues”. and warfare. over the course of the Duncan’s stay – for such questions will be no doubt forthcoming.

(Perhaps the Ukrainian military leadership will feel more comfortable with the latest UK Defence Attaché who is a male Colonel – though his predecessor was a female Naval officer which also probably made them uncomfortable initially before they overcame the “traditional role” issues.  For the record, the blog has always found intelligent and powerful women particularly attractive – and good to work for within the government/Crown machinery.)

With Sea Breeze 2017 having now concluded (a brief write up of that exercise by the blog will appear at Jamestown EDM sometime this week), the Ukrainian Navy will now partake in a few days of exercise with HMS Duncan, the Turkish frigate Yildrim and a Romanian vessel in Passex exercises.

Discussions regarding the on-going remake of the Ukrainian navy, the new UK aircraft carrier, threats to (any) naval units (regardless of flag) during warfare as yet to be effectively mitigated (by anybody) etc may perhaps be raised in future entries.  There are certainly policy and strategy issues to ponder.

Suffice to say the visit of HMS Duncan could not pass without note – for the blog has been aboard what seems like half the US 6th Fleet over the past few years while the Royal Navy never actually stopped in Odessa (despite being in the Black Sea).  Thus if it be another decade plus before the Royal Navy dock in Odessa, a few lines simply had to appear!

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