UK gives Royal Navy minehunters to Ukraine as sanction-breaking clampdown announced

A Royal Navy Sandown Class mine hunter. Credit: PA

The UK will give two Royal Navy Minehunters to Ukraine as part of an effort to bolster the country's capabilities at sea.

The gift of the two Sandown Class mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) comes as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the UK will lead a new maritime capability coalition alongside Norway to increase support for Ukraine.

The coalition will deliver long-term support, including training, equipment and infrastructure to bolster security in the Black Sea, the MoD said on Monday.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: “These minehunters will deliver vital capability to Ukraine, which will help save lives at sea and open up vital export routes, which have been severely limited since Putin launched his illegal full-scale invasion."

A Ukrainian sailor being trained on a minehunter. Credit: PA

He added "as an island nation with a proud maritime history, the UK and Royal Navy are particularly well-placed to support" the new coalition.

The announcement came on the same day as the government revealed a new task force to clamp down on companies flouting the sanctions placed on Russia.

The Office of Trade Sanctions Implementation will issue civil penalties for breaches and refer cases to HM Revenue and Customs for criminal enforcement, industry and Economic Security Minister Nusrat Ghani announced.

The body will investigate possible sanctions evasion by firms by sending products through other countries where they do not apply.

Ms Ghani said: "We are leaving no stone unturned in our commitment to stopping Putin’s war machine."

The UK is expected to impose fresh sanctions in the near future targeting items Ukraine has found on the battlefield, such as machine parts and chemicals, as well as products that raise revenue to fund Russia's war machine.

Ukraine's war with Russia has been stuck in a stalemate in recent months after Ukraine's summer offensive failed to make any large gains on the battlefield.

With much of international attention turned towards the Hamas-Israel war there has been a recent push by Ukraine to keep its backers engaged in supporting their struggle.

Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska warned her country faces "mortal danger" if the West's financial support stops.

Ms Zelenska argued that people in her country will be left to die if the world gets tired of providing support, in an interview with the BBC.

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