At that point but not before, the Ukrainian navy and coastal forces will be able to create “serious problems for the Russians, if the latter decide on a major war.” Israel, Zhirokhov says, shows what smaller ships armed with longer-reaching weapons can do. But of course, such a “mosquito” fleet are never going to be able to cope with an attack by a much larger opponent.
So far, Ukrainian yards have been able to provide six small armored artillery cutters, with 18 more at various stages of construction and planning. In addition, the shipbuilders are working on “a minimum” of two heavily armored landing craft. And according to unconfirmed reports, they are also building two rocket-launch-capable cutters as well.
But while these are being built and while Ukrainians are “waiting for the Americans,” the Ukrainian fleet has been expanding almost exclusively by the arrival of support vessels. The Ukrainian navy will be ready to defend the country by the next decade; but no one should assume, Zhirokhov says, that it will be able to do so now against a concerted attack.