Tuesday, January 2, 2024

"Russian Navy Retreats From Crimean Ports"

It's the same dilemma the Chinese hope to force upon the Americans: At what point do your ships go from projecting force to becoming live-action target practice?

From Bloomberg via gCaptain, January 2:

Russia has based its Black Sea fleet in Crimea for 240 years. Now President Vladimir Putin is at risk of losing the flagship naval hub as Ukraine steps up attacks in the occupied peninsula.

The assaults have forced Russia to move its ships further from harm’s way, almost a decade after Putin annexed Crimea with the goal of preserving the fleet’s presence there as Kyiv drew closer to the US and Europe.

“No Crimean port is safe any more for Russian warships,” said Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow. Ukraine has “basically ejected the fleet from Crimea.”

Its latest attack by a cruise missile claimed a large Russian landing ship at the eastern Crimean port of Feodosia on Tuesday. In all, Russia has lost at least 20 vessels including warships, a submarine and landing craft since Putin ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, according to the Ukrainian Armed Forces and independent assessments by the open-source intelligence outlet Oryx.

The breakthrough in Crimea provides Ukraine with some good news after its much-anticipated counteroffensive on land failed to oust Russian forces from occupied territory in the country’s east and south. Political disputes in the US and the European Union are holding up more than $110 billion of financial and military aid to Ukraine, casting doubt on allied support to Kyiv as the war approaches two years with no end in sight....



Before Russia invaded:

November 2021
French Navy Begins Largest-Ever Exercise, Half the Fleet Deployed
If there is an EU navy, this is it.

And it is really handy to have all the ships fired up and ready to go should anything erupt at the other end of the Mediterranean/Black Sea between Ukraine and Russia (looking at you Crimea) over the next couple weeks.
November 2021
"The US Military is Expanding Its Operations In Greece. The Reason Might Be Russia"
You don't say:



The distance from Istanbul (Turkey) to  Sevastopol (Crimea) is less than 350 miles (550 km)

February 2022
"Russia could hit U.S. chip industry, White House warns"

I sure hope the folks pushing for war understand how this all plays out.

I'd say "Just tell the dude Ukraine won't join NATO" but that is probably only half the issue.

Think of all the things Putin could have done after the Maidan coup in 2014 and he went for Crimea. The Russians are terrified that if Ukraine controls Crimea, whether they are in NATO or not, that they will allow Western navies to base, or at minimum refuel and revictual at Sevastopol.

And after:
March 2023
The Long War for the Black Sea