KIEV, April 25 (RIA Novosti)
Ukraine’s only submarine, the Zaporozhye, has left the port of Sevastopol on the Black Sea for sea trials for the first time after many years of repairs.
The Soviet-era Foxtrot class (Project 641) diesel-electric submarine stood grounded at a dock in Sevastopol for years without repair and became a symbol of the demise of Ukraine’s navy.
Russian engineers repaired and serviced the submarine and a crew of Ukrainian submariners was trained at Russian naval bases.
“The sea trials of the Zaporozhye submarine is an important event for the Ukrainian navy,” Defense Minister Dmytro Salamatin said. “Successful sea trials will ensure the revival of Ukraine’s submarine fleet.”
The trials, scheduled until April 27, will test the submarine’s power plant and other key equipment while sailing on surface.
Though the submarine was built 40 years ago, the vessel has been upgraded with new equipment and will certainly raise the combat capability of the Ukrainian navy.
Submarines of this type are most efficient in the Black Sea as they feature low radar and noise signatures.
Russia, Bulgaria, and Romania also have one submarine each in the Black Sea.
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Ukraine has never been a nuclear weapons-state and never had control over the nuclear weapons that were located on its territory following the collapse of the Soviet Union. It doesn’t have the research, technical or industrial capacity to develop and produce nuclear weapons in the short term.