Russia's Black Sea Fleet remains capable despite the loss of another ship: the Intel

Footage shows a Ukrainian drone boat attacking the Russian warship Ivanovets.
Screengrap via the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense

  • Ukrainian forces said last week that they used explosive drone boats to sink a Russian warship.
  • It represents the latest blow to Moscow's Black Sea Fleet, which was defeated by Kiev.
  • But Western intelligence says the fleet is still capable of performing its main duties in the Black Sea.

The Russian Black Sea fleet was subjected to a heavy blow from Ukraine over the course of the war, but Western intelligence indicates that Moscow still maintains the ability to conduct naval operations in the region.

Last week, the Ukrainian military said that its forces used unmanned surface ships loaded with explosives to sink the “Ivanovets” ship, a Russian missile ship that was stationed near the northwest of the occupied Crimean Peninsula. This is the latest Ukrainian Navy drone attack on Moscow's assets in the region.

The British Ministry of Defense wrote in an intelligence memorandum on Tuesday that the Ivanovets ships have been tasked with patrolling the western coast of Crimea to support Russian war efforts and facilitate data targeting with other ships, helicopters and long-range patrol aircraft. to update.

“This latest Ukrainian success highlights the continuing vulnerability of Russian warships operating in the Black Sea,” the British Ministry of Defense said. “It is likely to have an impact on the command and control elements of the Black Sea Fleet, possibly forcing them to reassess their ability to maneuver near Western Crimea.”

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The latest attack, during which the ship may have sunk, exacerbates the Russian Navy's woes. Previous Ukrainian attacks in the region have forced it to move some Black Sea Fleet activities and assets from its headquarters in Sevastopol, located along the southwestern corner of the Crimean peninsula, to Novorossiysk, on Russia's western coast. Ships were also hit there.

A series of four screenshots from footage shared by Ukrainian Defense Intelligence that claims to show the sinking of the warship Ivanovets during a night attack on January 31, 2024.
Defense Intelligence of Ukraine

However, the British Ministry of Defense warned that “the Russian Navy remains almost certainly capable of carrying out its three main tasks in the Black Sea: long-range strike, patrol and support.”

The Ukrainian military does not have much of a navy, but over the past few months, it has relied heavily on its arsenal of Western-supplied long-range cruise missiles and home-made drone boats to destroy Russia's Black Sea fleet, including several ships, and to bomb ground assets and facilities. To Moscow about Crimea.

Despite previous attacks, the escalation of Ukrainian attacks on the Black Sea Fleet began in late summer after Moscow announced its intention to militarize the important waterway and began increasing its strikes on Kiev's ports and food storage facilities.

By late December, British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said that a fifth of the fleet had already been wiped out. Ukrainian officials said the same thing. This situation seems to have gotten worse for Russians since then.

Ukrainian Ministry of Defense He said Tuesday that it had destroyed or damaged 24 Russian ships and one submarine since the start of the full-scale invasion nearly two years ago, amounting to a third of Moscow's Black Sea Fleet warships.

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She added: “There is no place for the Russian fleet in the Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula.”

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