Ukraine stops the Russian fleet
Ukrainian resistance has hobbled the superiority of the Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, denying the Kremlin decisive victories through amphibious action.
The Russian Navy started with a great advantage, but, for the moment, it has not been enough to prevail over Ukrainian resistance. The 1997 bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine allowed the Russian fleet to have bases on the Crimean peninsula. The Kremlin seized the whole of that southern Ukrainian territory in 2014 and then annexed it after a sham referendum.
This fact should have been decisive for Russia to conquer the Ukrainian coast, but the reality is that the offensives have not been up to the level that could be expected despite having that advantage of superior naval strength.
Consequently, as reported by El País, the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, removed Igor Ósipov, the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, on 18 August. A gesture that for Admiral James Foggo, former commander of the US Navy for Africa and Europe, and dean of the Center for Maritime Strategy, is clear proof that the objectives have not been met.
"The Black Sea Fleet has not been able to carry out amphibious actions to conquer Mikolaiv and Odessa, I think that is why Putin relieved his commander," argues the admiral.
A conservative attitude from Russia
For Foggo it is surprising that the Russian Navy has not even tried to approach coastal waters under Ukrainian control. However, the reason for this conservative strategy lies in the threatening presence of the Neptune Ukrainian anti-ship missiles and the American made Harpoon missiles.
In fact, in April, a Neptune missile sank the ‘Moskva’, the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet. And shortly before, in March, the military vehicle transport ship Saratov was annihilated by drones.
Russian superiority that has not been reflected
However, the Russian fleet remains vastly superior. It has 40 large warships in the Black Sea, and 6 to 8 submarines that are also present in the area.
Ukraine only has a dozen small boats, mostly patrol boats, and its only frigate was destroyed in March at the hands of her own crew to prevent Russian forces from capturing her. The ship was under repairs in port when the invasion began and the work couldn’t be finished fast enough to set sail.
In any case, the reality is that the superiority of the Russian Navy has enabled it to prevent merchant ship traffic in Ukrainian ports, but not to achieve decisive victories through amphibious invasions. So it can be said that, at the moment, Ukraine has stopped the Russian fleet.