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Russia is moving barges in to try to protect what remains of its damaged Black Sea Fleet, UK defense ministry says


Sailors standing at attention on the deck of a Russian Black Sea Fleet warship during the Navy Day celebrations in the port city of Novorossiysk on July 30, 2023.Sailors standing at attention on the deck of a Russian Black Sea Fleet warship during the Navy Day celebrations in the port city of Novorossiysk on July 30, 2023.

Stringer/AFP via Getty Images

  • Russia is fortifying its Black Sea Fleet with barges, says the UK’s defense ministry.
  • The barges are meant to “enhance the defences of the port” against Ukraine’s attacks, per the UK.
  • Russia’s naval capabilities have taken significant losses since it invaded Ukraine in 2022.

Russia is now resorting to barges to shore up the defenses for its Black Sea Fleet.

“Recent imagery analysis has identified four barges positioned at the entrance to the Black Sea Fleet facility of Novorossiysk Sea Port,” the UK’s defense ministry said in an intelligence dispatch on Sunday.

“This is an effort to enhance the defences of the port against attacks from Ukrainian Uncrewed Surface Vessels (USVs),” the intelligence dispatch said.

Ukrainian’s successful use of the USVs, the UK defense ministry said, also resulted in the Black Sea Fleet’s former commander, Admiral Viktor Sokolov, being replaced with with Vice Admiral Sergei Pinchuk.

And the barges being there mean Pinchuk “likely sought to improve the survival chances of Russian vessels by adopting further preventative and defensive measures, including narrowing the entrance gap to port facilities,” per the UK defense ministry’s assessment.

pic.twitter.com/2gDpbdzC6r

— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) March 31, 2024

Russia’s navy has taken significant hits since the country invaded Ukraine in February 2022. In February, the head of the UK’s armed forces, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, said 25% of Russia’s vessels in the Black Sea had been sunk or damaged.

“Putin’s continued illegal occupation of Ukraine is exacting a massive cost on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet which is now functionally inactive,” UK defense secretary Grant Shapps said on March 24.

Representatives for Russia’s defense ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular business hours.

Read the original article on Business Insider