President Zelensky has decided to replace the commander of the Ukrainian Navy – instead of Admiral Ihor Voronchenko, who was appointed by President Poroshenko, the Navy was headed by Rear Admiral Oleksiy Neizhpapa, BBC News Ukraine reports.

Sailor from Sevastopol

Oleksiy Neizhpapa is 44 years old, he is from Crimea – he was born in Sevastopol. In military service since 1992, that is, he took an oath to an already independent Ukraine, not the Soviet Union.

He studied at the Sevastopol Naval Institute, and later at the National University of Defense. In the second half of the 1990s, he commanded an anti-aircraft missile battery on the frigate “Sevastopol”. And in the 2000s he held positions from strapom commander of the Lutsk corvette to the commander of the Cherkasy minesweeper.

He was then deputy commander of the Southern Naval Base and commander of the surface ship brigade.

During the Russian annexation of Crimea, he was the First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Command of the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. He left the peninsula with sailors who remained faithful to the oath of Ukraine.

From 2015 to 2019 he was Deputy Commander of the Ukrainian Navy for Combat Training, Head of the Combat Training Department of the Command of the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Until his last appointment, Oleksiy Neizhpapa held the position of First Deputy Commander of the Navy.

ATO and training

“He took part in an anti-terrorist operation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Twice he received military ranks ahead of schedule as a ship’s commander and brigade commander,” Neizhpapa’s biography reads on the President’s Office website.

He also repeatedly led the Ukrainian-American exercises “Sea Breeze” on the Ukrainian side.

Involved in the preparation of these exercises in 2020.

“Every time during the exercises, everyone could see once again that the sea is not an obstacle, but a road that unites us. Our task is to make it safer,” he said in February 2020 during the Sea Breeze 2020 planning conference.

Oleksiy Neizhpapa also often took part in meetings with Ukraine’s international partners in the Black Sea, including Turkey and Romania.

A political decision?

At the same time, the appointment of Oleksiy Neizhpapa has already been called a political decision by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The previous commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Admiral Ihor Voronchenko, was appointed by President Poroshenko. He was considered one of the main supporters of the Euro-Atlantic integration of the fleet.

Admiral Voronchenko also commanded the fleet during the passage of a Ukrainian ship group through the Kerch Strait in November 2018, which ended in a clash with Russian forces and the illegal seizure of three Ukrainian ships.

And during the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Ihor Voronenko commanded the Coast Guard and admitted that he was ready to use tanks.

“Yes, there are fewer of us, the potential is not like that, but we will fulfill our task … There will be no second Crimea, and the situation will not happen again,” Admiral Voronchenko told BBC News Ukraine in October 2018.

It is expected that now Igor Voronchenko can be appointed to one of the positions in the General Staff of the Armed Forces.

Natalia Tolub

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