Ukraine hit Russia’s navy base in Crimea so hard that it is likely pulling some missions back to safer waters, UK intel says
- Russia is probably moving naval operations away from Crimea amid Ukrainian attacks, UK intel says.
- Ukrainian strikes on the port of Sevastopol have ramped up pressure on the Black Sea Fleet.
A UK intelligence assessment said some of Russia's naval operations in the Black Sea had been relocated following recent Ukraine attacks on its Crimean base.
The UK's Ministry of Defence said Monday the threats had most likely pushed some of Russia's Black Sea fleet activities to move to the port of Novorossiysk, on Russia's western coast.
It didn't specify which vessels or activities had relocated.
—Ministry of Defence (@DefenceHQ) October 2, 2023
Ukraine has ramped up attacks on Russia's Black Sea Fleet in recent weeks, including striking its headquarters at the Crimean port of Sevastopol on September 22.
A week earlier, Ukraine sent 10 cruise missiles crashing into its shipyard, damaging a submarine and a landing craft.
Ben Hodges, a former commander of US Army Europe, recently told Insider the strikes on Sevastopol were exposing Russia's vulnerabilities in Crimea and were part of an effort to isolate the peninsula and make it "untenable" for Russia to effectively hold.
Hodges said the strikes went hand in hand with the wider Ukrainian counteroffensive.
With the likely relocation of some maritime activities to Novorossiysk, Russia is now attempting to plug the gap with elements of its naval air force, the UK MOD says.
The ministry said air patrols by the Be-12 MAIL, a flying boat aircraft, were a "key asset" in this.
It also noted how Su-24 Fencer and Flanker variant combat jets are conducting maritime strike operations, "including at least one recent air strike on the strategically located Snake Island."
Russia abandoned Snake Island, in the northwestern Black Sea, early in its full-scale invasion, but has continued with attacks on it.
On September 24, the defense forces of southern Ukraine said Russian planes dropped four guided aerial bombs over the island.
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