• 12/04/2024 12:41

Newsweek: the flight of the Russian Black Sea Fleet from Crimea cancels out Putin's plans

Since February 2022, the Russian Black Sea Fleet has suffered huge losses from Ukraine.

Newsweek: the flight of the Russian Black Sea Fleet from Crimea cancels out Putin's plans

After more than two years, Moscow over Crimea came under real threat , writes Newsweek.

“Ukraine basically won the battle in the Black Sea,” retired US Navy Vice Admiral Robert Merrett told Newsweek.

Since February 2022, the Russian Black Sea Fleet has suffered huge losses from Ukraine. Moscow controlled Crimea after annexing the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, but Kiev has vowed to return it.

Over the past decade, Russia intends to use its Black Sea bases in Crimea to send Russian military force across the sea into southern Ukraine, it said retired captain of the Ukrainian Navy Andrey Ryzhenko.

But these plans undermine Ukraine’s success in Crimea. Russia lost its flagship Moskva at the beginning of the war. Kyiv also managed to destroy a Russian submarine with Storm Shadow missiles in September 2023.

In February, Ukrainian naval drones destroyed the Russian missile corvette Ivanovets and successfully attacked several Russian landing ships.

In mid-February, Kyiv said it had destroyed the large landing ship Caesar Kunikov near the city of Alupka in southern Crimea . The attack further reduced the shortage of landing ships in the Russian fleet.

“Today we have strengthened security in the Black Sea and added motivation to our people,” Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said shortly after the attack.

Loses of this type of vessels will deter any landing operations that Russia might carry out, Ryzhenko told Newsweek.

Ukraine has expanded its access to the eastern coast of Crimea, including Russian the port of Feodosia and the Kerch Bridge, which is vital for Russians, connecting the island with the Krasnodar region of Russia.

This week, the Main Intelligence Directorate published footage showing Magura V5 aquatic drones crashing into the Sergei Kotov ship, one of four Russian Project 22160 patrol ships.

GUR showed video of the destruction of the Russian patrol ship “Sergei Kotov”

British Defense Minister Grant Shepps said in December that The Kremlin had lost 20 percent of its Black Sea Fleet over the previous four months , adding: “Russia’s dominance in the Black Sea is now in question.”

“Russia has no choice but to move east,” said Daniel Rice, a former special adviser to the head of Ukraine's armed forces who is now president of Kyiv American University. But in doing so, Moscow is losing control of Crimea, he told Newsweek.

Russia has been forced to expand its port infrastructure in the eastern Black Sea as its facilities around Crimea, such as its main base in Sevastopol, are under threat.

Moscow has shifted some of its resources to Novorossiysk, a Black Sea port city located in internationally recognized Russian territory. It has also been reported that the Kremlin is planning a new military base at the port of Ochamchira in Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia. This would push the Russian Black Sea Fleet further away from the Ukrainian coastline.

Ryzhenko said Moscow is now much more careful about keeping its new, larger ships in Crimea, and has moved several to Novorossiysk.

“Russia's two main assumptions for the invasion appear to have been control of airspace and control of naval forces in the Black Sea – both of which they lost,” Rice said. Ukraine also managed to export millions of tons of grain through the Black Sea.

The publication concludes that this does not mean that Ukraine has gained control over these territories. Russia still dominates much of the Black Sea, even if it is contained in the northwest through Ukraine, Ryzhenko said. This is what is known as a “gray zone,” he said, where no country can establish unconditional control.

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