The British survey ship HMS Echo (H87) entered the Black Sea on the evening of Monday, December 17. The ship arrived ahead of schedule due to Russia’s aggression, Andrii Klymenko, director of the Maidan of Foreign Affairs project, wrote on Facebook.
This class of ship is used for survey operations to support submarines or amphibious operations.
“It can provide adjusted information virtually in real-time,” Klymenko wrote.
The ship is equipped with multibeam echo sounders and numerous towable sensors, and is armed with a 20mm cannon and a 7.62mm machine gun.
This is the first time that the movement of a NATO ship has been officially motivated by Russia’s aggression and the Azov crisis.
Interfax confirmed this information, citing a Turkish news outlet that had published photo reports of the British vessel passing through the Bosporus. At the time, the ship was said to be heading north in the Black Sea.
At the end of November, British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that a reconnaissance ship would be sent to the Black Sea in order to “ensure freedom of navigation in the region”. He also promised that the UK would continue to assist Ukraine in the first two months of 2019. A team of British marines, soldiers and naval troops will be sent to train Ukrainian soldiers.