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A ship of the Black Sea Fleet on arrival in Sevastopol


Russian Defence Ministry / ITAR-TASS / IMAGO

According to British intelligence, the Russian Black Sea Fleet relies primarily on defensive after heavy blows. "It has moved many of its prestigious components – including cruise missile-capable ships and submarines – from Sevastopol to areas of operations and bases further east, such as Novorossiysk," the British Ministry of Defense said on Saturday.

Sevastopol on the annexed Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea is actually the port of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Most recently, the headquarters had been hit by Ukrainian missiles, and Russian warships in Sevastopol were also repeatedly attacked.

Risk of naval attack probably too great

Ukraine has long had the upper hand in the northwest of the Black Sea, forcing the Russian navy to defend itself against unmanned ships and drones, as well as missile attacks, London said. However, the Black Sea Fleet can continue to fire cruise missiles against Ukraine from the east of the area. "The risk of further military losses and the severe political consequences of an open attack by Russian naval forces on merchant shipping would most likely outweigh any gain from trying to enforce a blockade of Ukrainian trade."

The UK Ministry of Defence has been publishing daily information on the course of the war since the start of the war against Ukraine in February 2022. Moscow accuses London of disinformation.