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Russia is patrolling the Black Sea with submarines after its surface fleet got walloped, Ukraine says

Thibault Spirlet   

Russia is patrolling the Black Sea with submarines after its surface fleet got walloped, Ukraine says
  • Russia is using four submarines to monitor the Black Sea, a Ukrainian official told national TV.
  • Dmitry Pletenchuk said three were cruise missile carriers and that two "periodically" go to sea.

Russia has started using submarines to patrol the Black Sea after suffering major naval losses, according to a Ukrainian official.

Dmitry Pletenchuk, a spokesman for Ukraine's southern military command, made the statement on Ukrainian national television on Monday, per Ukrainska Pravda.

According to Pletenchuk, Russia is now deploying four submarines, three of which are cruise missile carriers, to patrol the Black Sea.

Russian forces "have already established practice where these submarines rotate in the morning," Pletenchuk said, per the Kyiv Independent.

He added that the submarines were operating in the Azov-Black Sea region, with two "periodically" going to sea, per the outlet.

Pletenchuk's statements came after Russia's navy suffered a series of major losses in the Black Sea.

Ukraine has deployed drones, missiles, and other weaponry to go after Russian warships, including smaller vessels like tugboats. Earlier this year, Ukraine's military claimed to have destroyed a third of Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

The UK's defense ministry declared the fleet "functionally inactive" in March.

The attacks have forced Russia's fleet to seek safer ports further away from Crimea.

But even there, Russian forces have come under attack, with Ukrainian drones targeting the Novorossiysk port last month.

The Novorossiysk Fuel oil terminal and Transneft terminal were attacked on May 17, the Kyiv Independent reported, with satellite images taken on May 18 showing traces of a fire.

Pletenchuk also said that three Russian landing ships and three Buyan-M-class missile ships were now stationed in the Azov Sea, and that Russia was "building structures such as barges and background fences" to try to protect its ships.

Russia is known to have used submarines in the Black Sea, with some having suffered damages. One type — the Yasen-class submarines — has become a top concern for NATO.

Russia spent twenty years building its first Yasen-class submarine, also known as the Severodvinsk class, which entered service in 2013, but the pace has quickened since then.

Two more entered service in 2021, and a fourth was scheduled to join the fleet last November.

Five others are being built or have already been launched, BI's Christopher Woody reported in December.

The designated nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine has what looks like improved sonar and a smaller and quieter reactor than earlier models, and can also fire land-attack and anti-ship cruise missiles.

This has alarmed Western authorities, as they worry it could allow the subs to reach and target key locations in Europe and North America.


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