Ukrainian Attacks on Black Sea Fleet Puts Russia on Defensive, U.K. MoD Says

September 26, 2023 5:07 PM
Ukrainian strike on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol, Crimea, on Sept. 22, 2023. Image via Telegram

A string of Ukrainian attacks on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in September have likely pushed Russia into a more reactive position, while potentially taking out Russian leaders, the British Ministry of Defence said in a series of social media posts Tuesday morning.

The most recent Ukrainian strikes, which mostly used drones to attack Sevastapol on Crimea, were more damaging and coordinated than previous seen in the Russo-Ukrainian War, according to the British defense ministry posts on the social media site formerly known as Twitter.

“A dynamic, deep strike battle is underway in the Black Sea,” reads one of the posts. “This is likely forcing Russia into a reactive posture whilst demonstrating that Ukraine’s military can undermine the Kremlin’s symbolic and strategic power projection from its warm water port in occupied Sevastopol.”

The strikes have been severe but they are limited, the British intelligence said. However, they have likely weakened Russia’s ability to protect its ports in Crimea and to continue its blockade of Ukrainian ports.

Fighting in the Black Sea region has picked up since Russia withdrew from the U.N.-Turkey brokered grain deal. While both Ukraine and Russia have attacked each others port cities throughout the war, the attacks by Russia on Odesa and by Ukraine on Sevastapol increased in the weeks following the collapse of the grain deal.

Ukrainian forces used missiles to strike Sevastapol on Sept. 22, killing 33 officers, including the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, according to the Kyiv Independent. During the strikes, Ukraine damaged a Russian submarine and a warship.

However, a day after Ukraine said it killed Viktor Sokolov via the missile strikes, the Black Sea Fleet commander appeared in a video of a Russian meeting, prompting Ukraine to say it was clarifying the information, NBC reported.

Russian state-run news site TASS did not report on the Sevastapol attack.

Russia retaliated Monday, striking grain infrastructure in Odesa, killing two, according to the Kyiv Independent. Since Russia withdrew from the grain deal over the summer, it has attacked Ukrainian grain infrastructure, likely to hurt the Ukrainian economy, USNI News previously reported.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
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