The Ukrainian frigate URS Ternopil will conduct Force Integration Training with NATO beginning 10 May 2007 to prepare for participation in NATO`s anti- terrorism Operation Active Endeavor (OAE), according to a NATO press-release. In preparation for the Ukrainian unit to join NATO’s anti-terrorism operation and improving the inter-operability between NATO and Ukrainian units, a NATO core team will embark on the Ternopil at Sevastopol (Ukraine). They will co-ordinate the training of personnel from the Black Sea Fleet headquarters and the ship that will deploy to the Mediterranean to support the NATO operation.

The Ukrainian Force Integration Training has three phases. The first at sea phase of training will occur during the transit from Sevastopol to Taranto (Italy) in company with a NATO Ship. The second phase will be in Soudha Bay, where secure military communications with NATO ships will be established with assistance of the British frigate HMS Montrose. The third and last phase will comprise the Force Integration Training at Sea (FIT) and “Certification” during which URS Ternopil will join a NATO Force to conduct familiarization training and demonstrate that the standards required for operation with NATO maritime units have been met.

Operation Active Endeavour is NATO’s maritime contribution to the fight against terrorism. Launched in October 2001, it continues to conduct surveillance and monitoring operations of the major shipping lanes in the Mediterranean. In 2004, NATO decided to enlist the support of partner nations, Mediterranean Dialogue countries and other selected nations. The preparations for the Ukrainian participation in OAE were set following an Exchange of Letters between Ukraine and NATO in April 2005.

Training and certification are the two main elements of pre-deployment preparations, which aim to ensure that Ukrainian ships are able to participate effectively in the operation. Training at sea with Allied ships participating in Operating Active Endeavour is also required in order to practise joint manoeuvring and the boarding of suspect ships. The URS Ternopil successfully completed this "mission oriented training" in the Mediterranean in November 2006. A group of experts from Allied military commands visited the Ukrainian Navy Headquarters at Sevastopol in February this year to assess progress.

Once the current training has been successfully completed, the ship will be certified by NATO as ready to join the operation. URS Ternopil is expected to support Operation Active Endeavour from the end of May through early July. The deployment of a second corvette, the URS Lutsk, is expected in the autumn. A third vessel, the frigate URS Sagaidachnyi, is expected to be deployed in 2008.

Ukraine`s active support for Operation Active Endeavour is a demonstration of its determination to co-operate with the Allies in the fight against terrorism.