Setback for Putin: Black Sea Fleet Considering Retreat

Strategic Turning Point: Russian Black Sea Fleet May Retreat from Sevastopol, Affecting Global Grain Trade.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet could soon be limited in its use of its base in Sevastopol, Crimea, according to the British Ministry of Defence. Germany’s Merkur reported this news, citing an announcement from the Ministry on November 25. Specifically, Russian ships equipped with cruise missiles might be relocated to the port of Novorossiysk in Russia, approximately 210 miles (around 340 kilometers) east.

Logistical Issues Force Russian Fleet to Adjust

Merkur notes that there are “logistical problems” in Sevastopol, impacting the operational capabilities of the Russian fleet. This may lead to the fleet having to load its cruise missiles in Novorossiysk. Since the onset of Russia’s offensive war against Ukraine, Russian forces, under the command of President Vladimir Putin, have regularly bombarded the country, particularly civilian infrastructure, with missile attacks.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported as early as October about issues facing the Russian Black Sea Fleet. According to Merkur, Ukraine has been conducting a “successful campaign” against Russian military infrastructure in Crimea, targeting airfields, logistics depots, and command posts. These attacks have “successfully damaged” Russia’s logistical and defensive capabilities. The Crimea serves as a central staging area for Russian counter-offensives in southern Ukraine and for sea-based attacks.

Weakened Russian Fleet Impacts Global Grain Trade

Merkur emphasizes that a weakened Russian Black Sea Fleet also has global implications, especially for food security. These developments weaken Russia’s ability to block Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea, which is significant for the global grain trade.

Image:,Joint exercises of Northern and Black Sea fleets, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons (Image size changed)

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