Ukrainian Drone Strikes Cripple Russia's Black Sea Fleet

Written by Kathrine Frich

Jul.08 - 2024 9:04 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock
Ukrainian attacks rendered the central naval base in Sevastopol inoperable

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The war in Ukraine, which has surpassed 28 months, remains highly dynamic with no end in sight for the conflict, as both Moscow and Kyiv await a resolution.

Naval Base Inoperable

Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin suffered a significant setback due to Ukrainian attacks that rendered the central naval base in Sevastopol inoperable for the Russian Black Sea Fleet according to Ziare.

According to Ukrainian Vice Admiral Oleksiy Neizhpapa, Russia has "lost its naval hub in Sevastopol, Crimea, which it had for centuries." This severe blow to the Russian military might mark the beginning of the end for Putin's dominance at the Kremlin. Ukrainian drone strikes forced the Black Sea Fleet to relocate from Crimea to Novorossiysk in eastern Russia.

The Ukrainian Navy chief stated that missile and naval drone attacks inflicted substantial damage on the Sevastopol base, a critical logistical hub for repairs, maintenance, training, and ammunition storage. The base, established over decades or possibly centuries, is now effectively lost to Russia. These remarks were made by Neizhpapa in a rare interview with Reuters from the port city of Odesa, just before Ukraine’s Navy Day.

A Major Challenge

Kyiv has delivered a series of severe blows to Moscow in the Black Sea. Despite intense land battles across a 1,000 km front, Ukraine has managed to target Russian ships and fleet facilities in Crimea using drones and unmanned naval vessels loaded with explosives, along with Storm Shadow and ATACM missiles.

"Almost all main combat-ready ships have been moved by the enemy from the main base of the Black Sea Fleet, with the ships now kept in Novorossiysk and some in the Sea of Azov," Neizhpapa said.

The Novorossiysk naval base lacks the extensive facilities of Sevastopol, which was used for storing and loading cruise missiles for airstrikes on Ukraine.

Putin recently assured his naval chiefs that the fleet had been replenished and that a major modernization was underway to enhance its combat stability. Despite this, the loss of Sevastopol poses a major challenge. Neizhpapa noted that Ukraine had destroyed or damaged 27 Russian naval vessels, including five destroyed by naval mines laid by Ukrainian drones near Sevastopol Bay. This amounts to roughly one-third of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.