War in Ukraine Ukraine succeeds in the Black Sea by keeping out a superior Russian navy

The sinking of the landing ship "Novocherkassk" in Crimea crowns Ukraine's main success in 2023 in moving the Russian Black Sea Fleet away from its shores and opening a trade corridor to renew exports from some of its ports

War in Ukraine Ukraine succeeds in the Black Sea by keeping out a superior Russian navy

The sinking of the landing ship "Novocherkassk" in Crimea crowns Ukraine's main success in 2023 in moving the Russian Black Sea Fleet away from its shores and opening a trade corridor to renew exports from some of its ports.

All publicly available evidence, including videos and photos from the scene, points to the complete destruction early Tuesday morning in Feodosia of the 112-meter-long ship, one of those that threatened Odessa at the very beginning of the large-scale invasion.

According to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army, the "Novocherkassk" became the twenty-fourth maritime vessel destroyed in the Black Sea by Ukrainian forces.

This figure also includes a submarine, hit by a missile attack in Sevastopol in September, the Black Sea flagship "Moskva", sunk in April 2022, and the large landing ships "Saratov", "Olenegorski Gorniak" and " "Minsk".

According to Oleksi Danilov, secretary of the National Security Council, who spoke to the Ukrainian edition of "Voice of America", Russian losses amount to 20% of its fleet.

"Ukraine's achievement in the Black Sea is extraordinary," Oleksí Melnik, director of foreign security programs at the Razumkov Center, based in kyiv, summarizes for EFE.

Despite not having "any classical fleet," Ukraine has managed to "displace Russia from the northwestern part of the sea," according to the expert.

"Ukraine showed the entire world that Russia is not capable of applying the blockade (of Ukrainian ports), with which it blackmailed Ukraine and many other countries in need of Ukrainian grain," he underlines.

Maritime surface drones became the basis of Ukraine's proactive actions in the Black Sea, according to the analysis of Mikola Bielieskov, a military expert from the NGO "Come Back Alive" in Kiev.

They played a key role in countering Russian attempts to intercept ships carrying Ukrainian grain in the southwestern Black Sea, out of range of Harpoon anti-ship missiles, after Russia unilaterally withdrew from the UN-backed Grain Agreement in the second half of July 2023, writes Bielieskov.

These drones, used for the first time in attacks against Russian-controlled ports in Sevastopol and Novorrosisk in autumn 2022, also pose a threat, despite autonomy and range limitations, to Russian ships outside of deployment points. permanent.

The "Mamai" drone, used by the Ukrainian Security Service, is currently the fastest vehicle in the Black Sea, capable of moving at 110 km per hour, according to this service.

Another type of drone, the "Sea Baby", carries at least 850 kilograms of explosives and has also been used in attacks against several Russian naval bases.

The asymmetric "defense by denial" strategy against the superior Russian navy has allowed Ukraine to continue exporting grain from the ports it still controls in the Odessa region.

Furthermore, it is now able to export metals and other items that were not covered by the UN-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative.

More than 300 ships transported some 10 million tons of goods through the "humanitarian corridor" from Ukraine in the first four months of its operation, "despite systematic Russian attacks" against ports, according to the country's Ministry of Infrastructure. .

This comes as a welcome relief to both overseas buyers and Ukrainian producers and exporters, hurt by Russia's occupation, shelling and blockade of key ports.

However, the confrontation in the Black Sea is far from being resolved, warns Bielieskov. Ukraine is currently limited in the means at its disposal to attack the concentration of Russian forces in occupied Crimea, which Russia uses to "project force" in the region.

Russia is also trying to limit the effectiveness of drones, for example by working on radio-electronic warfare means to disrupt their direction, as military expert Olexandr Kovalenko had previously told EFE.

"Only the complete liberation of Crimea can guarantee freedom of navigation and security in the Black Sea," Bielieskov emphasizes.