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Media: UK Minister says Ukraine has practically defeated Russia's Black Sea Fleet

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 3, 2023 1:08 PM 1 min read
U.K. Minister for the Armed Forces and Veterans James Heappey on June 1, 2023 in Shepton Mallet, England. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
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Ukraine's recent attacks on Russia's Black Sea Fleet have led to the "functional defeat" of the Russian Navy in the Black Sea, U.K. Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said at the Warsaw Security Conference on Oct. 3, according to Ukrainska Pravda.

Heappey said that the Russian Navy has now "been forced to disperse to ports from which it cannot have an effect on Ukraine," the Guardian's Diplomatic Editor Patrick Wintour wrote on X, formally known as Twitter.

This naval victory is "every bit as important" as Ukraine's surprise counteroffensive in Kharkiv Oblast in the autumn of 2022, Heappey said, according to Wintour.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet, based in occupied Crimea, has suffered a series of major attacks over the past weeks, including strikes on a command post on Sept. 20 and on its headquarters on Sept. 22.

These strikes have caused "almost certainly severe" damage to the fleet, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on Sept. 26.

The fleet's ability to continue wider regional security patrols and enforce its de facto blockade of Ukrainian ports is therefore likely reduced, the Defense Ministry added.

The Sept. 22 missile strike against the fleet's Sevastopol headquarters killed 34 Russian officers, including the fleet's commander, and injured 105 more soldiers, the Ukrainian military reported.

According to Sky News, the attack was carried out using U.K.-provided long-range Storm Shadow missiles.

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