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UK Defense Ministry: Russia enhances Novorossiysk port's defense against Ukrainian attacks

by The Kyiv Independent news desk March 31, 2024 1:38 PM 2 min read
Russia's Black Sea fleet warships take part in the Navy Day celebrations in the port city of Novorossiysk on July 30, 2023. (Stringer/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russia is trying to strengthen the defense of its Novorossiysk port against possible Ukrainian attacks, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in its daily update on March 31.

"Recent imagery analysis has identified four barges positioned at the entrance to the Black Sea Fleet facility of Novorossiysk Sea Port. This is an effort to enhance the defenses of the port against attacks from Ukrainian Uncrewed Surface Vessels," reads the update.

The port of Novorossiysk is now crucial in sheltering the Russian Black Sea Fleet's "most valuable assets" due to an increased risk of Ukrainian strikes on their "traditional homeport" of Sevastopol, the ministry added.

Russia began redeploying the Black Sea Fleet to Novorossiysk last year after a series of devastating Ukrainian strikes, including a missile attack on its headquarters in Sevastopol on Sept. 22.

The Novorossiysk port is located on the Russian coast and out of range of weapons like the Storm Shadow missiles.

On March 30, Navy Spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk said the Russian military has withdrawn nearly all its major ships, except for the rocket carrier Cyclone, from ports in occupied Crimea following successful Ukrainian strikes on the Black Sea Fleet.

"I mean that most of the combat units, if you take the carriers of cruise missiles, actually all relocated, except for one," he said.

Pletenchuk also described the Cyclone as a "loser" that "still has not launched a single missile."

According to the U.K. Defense Ministry, the former commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Viktor Sokolov, was replaced after successful Ukrainian strikes.

"His replacement, Admiral Sergei Pinchuk, has 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," the ministry said.

Navy: Russia withdraws ‘most valuable’ ships from occupied Crimea
Russia has now withdrawn all its major vessels from occupied Crimea except for the rocket carrier Cyclone, which has never launched a missile, a Navy spokesperson said on March 30.
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