TechUkraine's attacks leave Russian Black Sea Fleet 'functionally inactive'

Ukraine's attacks leave Russian Black Sea Fleet 'functionally inactive'

Ukrainians attacked selected targets of the Black Sea Fleet - illustrative photo
Ukrainians attacked selected targets of the Black Sea Fleet - illustrative photo
Images source: © Telegram
4:11 PM EDT, March 26, 2024

The Russian Black Sea Fleet has encountered significant challenges lately, with Ukrainian drone and missile attacks severely impairing its operations and forcing many ships to remain docked. The UK's Defense Minister, Grant Shapps, highlighted this on the X platform, noting that the Black Sea Fleet is "currently functionally inactive." Recent strikes on two large landing ships, the Yamal and the Azov, underscore the fleet's vulnerability.

"Putin's continuous illegal occupation of Ukraine is exacting a heavy toll on the Russian Black Sea Fleet, rendering it essentially incapacitated. Despite Russia's longstanding presence in the Black Sea since 1783, its fleet is now relegated to the port, where it remains vulnerable, even at dock," emphasized UK Defense Minister Grant Shapps on X.

Is the Black Sea Fleet Facing Trouble?

The precarious state of the Black Sea Fleet has been observed not just by Western sources but within Russia itself. Revealed in a Telegram post by Russian military expert Vladislav Shurygin, the fleet's commanders are criticized for their lack of awareness regarding the evolving nature of warfare and the strategic role of naval forces. This resulted in notable losses for the Black Sea Fleet, pushing the unit into a defensive stance and confining it to port.

However, retreating to port has not shielded the fleet from further assaults. This point is also highlighted by the recent leadership changes within the Black Sea Fleet. Former US Ambassador to Ukraine, Steven Pifer, commented on X, "Ukraine greets the new commander of the Russian navy with attacks on two more ships of the Black Sea Fleet," referring to the strikes on the Yamal and Azov. The full extent of the damage to these ships remains unclear, but it is doubtful they will quickly return to operational status, if ever.

It is noteworthy that Ukrainians have employed Storm Shadow missiles in these attacks. These advanced conventional, tactical, long-range cruise missiles, weighing approximately 2870 pounds (including a warhead of around 992 pounds) and measuring about 16.4 feet in length, can travel at speeds of 621 mph to strike targets up to 155 miles away. Their capability to hit targets like air bases, vital communication nodes, or port facilities, especially given their high speed and low-altitude flight path, makes them particularly hard to intercept.

Related content