Satellite images show Russia’s Black Sea Fleet running from its base in Crimea as Ukraine attacks it with missiles and exploding drones

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  • Ukraine has used naval drones and missiles to wage war against Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

  • A campaign of highly effective attacks has prompted Moscow to move many of its vulnerable assets.

  • Satellite images capture the exodus of Russian naval assets from Crimea to other ports.

Armed with exploding naval drones and long-range missiles, Ukraine has managed to push Russia’s Black Sea Fleet away from its long-held headquarters on the occupied Crimean peninsula to other bases far away.

A series of high-profile Ukrainian attacks on the port of Sevastopol and Russian warships last year led to the withdrawal of Russian warships to bases in the port cities of Feodosia, on the other side of Crimea, and Novorossiysk, in Russia, as Moscow sought better solutions. protection of its naval assets.

Newly released satellite images captured by BlackSky, a real-time, space-based intelligence company, and obtained by Business Insider reveal the dispersal of the Black Sea Fleet – one of Ukraine’s defining successes in the war. Kiev, without its own navyhas inflicted shocking losses on Russian warships, opening a crucial maritime corridor to help support the Russian economy.

Ukraine has relied on its fleet of homemade naval drones And rockets to sink, destroy or damage at least 24 Russian ships in the Black Sea, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said last week.

These attacks cover the entire warbut the exodus of the Black Sea Fleet did not really get underway until September 2023. That month, Ukraine carried out two separate attacks on Sevastopol using Western-made cruise missiles. bomb an important shipyard and the fleet headquarters.

The aftermath of two Ukrainian missile attacks on Black Sea Fleet facilities in Sevastopol in September 2023.The aftermath of two Ukrainian missile attacks on Black Sea Fleet facilities in Sevastopol in September 2023.

The aftermath of two Ukrainian missile attacks on Black Sea Fleet facilities and ships in Sevastopol in September 2023.Black sky

The British Ministry of Defence noted in October that the increasing threats to Sevastopol – as evidenced by the previous attacks on the shipyard and headquarters – likely forced Moscow to to spread its naval operations across the Black Sea and away from the battered west coast of Crimea.

BlackSky said it generated tens of thousands of automated detections of military vessels between January 2022 and April 2024, giving it insight into the extent of the Russian withdrawal.

In the months following the attacks in Sevastopol, BlackSky found that detections at the port had dropped by 18%.

Meanwhile, it recorded a 23% increase in detections in Feodosia and a 22% increase in detections in Novorossiysk – just under 160 kilometers and just over 320 kilometers away from Sevastopol, respectively. These figures underline a notable departure from western Crimea to other locations that may be more difficult for Ukrainian missiles and drones to reach.

The spread of the Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol to Feodosia and Novorossiysk.The spread of the Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol to Feodosia and Novorossiysk.

The spread of the Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol to Feodosia and Novorossiysk.Black sky

A series of satellite images taken in the months before and after the damaging attacks in Sevastopol further highlight the declining presence of the Black Sea Fleet in the city’s port, as warships were dispersed across the region to Feodosia and Novorossiysk.

July 18, 2022.July 18, 2022.

Sevastopol on July 18, 2022.Black sky

July 31, 2023.July 31, 2023.

Sevastopol on July 31, 2023.Black sky

December 29, 2023.December 29, 2023.

Sevastopol on December 29, 2023.Black sky

April 26, 2024.April 26, 2024.

April 26, 2024.Black sky

BlackSky also said it has observed an increase in apparent maritime security measures at the entrances to ports where Russian ships were docked, including in Sevastopol, despite the decline in naval activity there. Western intelligence services and analysts have done so these defenses identified such as nets, floating booms and moored ships.

This image shows the comparison of defenses at Sevastopol between autumn 2022 and earlier this month.This image shows the comparison of defenses at Sevastopol between autumn 2022 and earlier this month.

This image shows the comparison of defenses at Sevastopol between autumn 2022 and earlier this month.Black sky

With a reduced presence of Russian warships around Sevastopol and the western coast of Crimea, Ukraine has in recent weeks resorted to attacks on smaller ships such as patrol vessels And tugboats in an attempt to continue inflicting naval losses on Moscow.

The battle for the Black Sea has been a bright spot for Ukraine amid the sluggish campaign on the ground. Russia has been unable to defend consistently against this innovative and asymmetrical style of warfare, and officials in Kiev have done so promised to continue with this highly effective campaign of missile and naval drone attacks.

A general in Ukraine’s security service, who has carried out naval drone strikes on Russian warships and infrastructure, previously told BI that Kiev is not only driving out Moscow’s naval assets but also destroying them in the process – negating some of the strategic advantages of the campaign.

“We managed to unblock the grain corridor and suppress the activity of Russian rocket launchers firing from the sea into the territory of Ukraine,” said Brig. General Ivan Lukashevich. “Forcing the enemy to flee from the Black Sea was the goal we sought,” he added, “and it was achieved.”

Read the original article Business insider

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