Ukrainian Prime Minister Valery Pustovoitenko on Saturday announced that a guided-missile cruiser once destined for the Soviet Navy would be finished and taken over by the Ukrainian Navy. He was speaking to the workers at the 61 Communards Shipyard in Mikolayiv where the ship was being built.
Originally named the Admiral Lobov, the 12,500-ton ship had been laid down in 1985 and launched in August 1990. It is the fourth and last of the Slava-class of anti-ship cruisers, and is armed with both anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles. Work on the ship stopped following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, then apparently resumed rather fitfully. The ship also went through several name changes. In 1994 it was reported that it would be completed as the Bohdan Khmelnytsky. Then it was referred to as the Vilna Ukraina. A sister-ship, now called the Moskva, is being completed at the same shipyard for the Russian Black Sea Fleet with financial support from the mayor of Moscow.
The new cruiser will be by far the largest ship in the Ukrainian navy. It was designed for open ocean operations and seems both an expensive and inappropriate addition to Ukraine’s fledgling fleet. It may also be some time in coming, as Pustovoitenko said the first task would be to draw up a schedule for its completion. (Radio Ukraine World Service, February 21)
High-Level Russian-Ukrainian Meetings Focus on Political Atmosphere.