The Ukrainian Navy reported on Dec. 11 that there were eight Russian warships on combat duty in the Black Sea but no Kalibr cruise missile carriers were spotted among them. Kalibr is one of the main types of missiles that Russia has been using against Ukraine.
A week ago, the navy reported that four Russian ships carrying 24 Kalibr missiles had been spotted in the Black Sea.
In the Azov Sea, Russia “continues to control sea communications” by keeping two of its warships on alert, according to Ukraine’s navy. It added that in the Mediterranean Sea, five of the nine Russian warships spotted were carrying Kalibr missiles – totaling 76.
Russia has been bolstering its naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea almost as “an outer defense layer for Russia’s naval operations in the Black Sea,” according to The Royal Institute for International Relations, an independent Brussels-based think tank.
Russia had positioned its naval forces in the eastern Mediterranean even before launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine due to what it views as “deterrence measures” from NATO fleets.
The Black Sea, meanwhile, has served as one of Russia’s major bases to launch attacks on Ukraine.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Nov. 11 that Russia had fired more than 4,500 missiles against Ukraine since February, and “every fifth of them was launched from a sea.”
The president added that the Ukrainian fleet had lost 80% of its warships since Russia occupied Crimea in 2014.