"You have the cruiser Ukrayina sitting in your docks. A presidential decree on its demilitarization exists. If your remove the weapons and sell what's left, that will be enough to pay your back wages, and three times that left over. The ship has a frame and turbine engines, they are in demand," Bon said during a meeting with workers at the 61 Communards Shipbuilding Yard.
As of March 1, workers at the shipyard were owed nearly $1.8 million in unpaid wages.
The Ukrayina was laid down in 1983 and launched in 1990. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, budget constraints compelled the Ukrainian Navy to halt work on the cruiser. Since that time, the ship has remained unfinished, with some $30 million needed to complete the construction.
"To some extent, the Ukrayina resembles the Flying Dutchman. Many sailors claimed they saw her but in fact the ship was a ghost. On the contrary, the Ukrainian cruiser is real but was never seen sailing the sea," Radio Sputnik contributor Vladimir Filippov wrote in an op-ed for RIA Novosti.
According to the author, the situation with the Ukrayina reflects the disastrous state of affairs in the country’s shipbuilding industry.
"After the breakup of the USSR, Ukraine inherited a capable shipbuilding yard in Nikolayev as well as facilities in other regions. Ukraine had everything to become one of the global leaders in military and civic shipbuilding. But now the Nikolayev shipyard is on the verge of bankruptcy," Filippov wrote.
Commenting on the situation, Russian presidential aide Vladimir Kozhin said recently that the disruption of Moscow-Kiev military and technical cooperation has ruined the Ukrainian defense industry.
Filippov argued that the Russian military predicted the chaos and this is why shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union Moscow bought Soviet strategic bombers from Ukraine and withdrew nuclear weapons, in accordance with international treaties.
"Now, radical forces are calling to restore Ukraine’s nuclear status. However, Washington will never let that happen. Despite its anti-Russian rhetoric, the United States understands that this is a matter of global security. Moreover, why would Ukraine need nuclear weapons?" the author pointed out.
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