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Crimea and the Black Sea

February 26, 2014 – In Ukraine’s west, the outlook is towards Europe and the EU; in the east, allegiances are to Moscow. Can these two visions find common ground? Channel 4 News International Editor Lindsey Hilsum reports.

February 27, 2014 – The stand off at the Crimean regional parliament in Simferopol can only be ended through negotiation – any attempt to use force of arms could pitch Ukraine into a dangerous conflict. Lindsey Hilsum reports.

March 2, 2014 – Lindsey Hilsum talks to Ukrainians as Ukraine and Russia’s army face each other in tense standoffs in the Crimea.

March 2, 2014 – In Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, the military build-up continues. International Editor Lindsey Hilsum tries to get some answers from the armed men occupying Simferopol airport.

March 2, 2014 – Putin’s justification for the war is that Russians face a humanitarian crisis. Lindsey Hilsum sees no evidence of it.

March 4, 2014 – Russians cocked their rifles at unarmed Ukrainian troops, Lindsey Hilsum reports from Crimea.

March 12, 2014 – In dispatch 7, Simon is back in the Crimean capital of Simferopol, where both pro and anti-Russia demonstrations are dividing the region. Pro-Russia protesters believe that the country’s strong economy will help Crimea, while anti-Russia protesters feel that their land has been taken over by bandits.

July 18, 2016 – Ukraine in the Crosshair of Moscow (2009): Sevestopol, the heart of Russia’s naval power in the Ukraine, has been occupied by Russian troops. Amidst fears of separatism, this archive report offers a rare glimpse into the Russian military’s hold on Crimea.

March 5, 2022 – In Odesa, Ukraine’s third largest city, civilians are filling sandbags and making thousands of Molotov cocktails to prepare to defend their homes against Russian forces.

April 14, 2022 – The flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, the Moskva has been sunk. Ukraine claims a missile strike; Russia says it was a fire. In late 2015, 60 Minutes was invited aboard the warship as it began providing anti-aircraft defense for Syria.

April 15, 2022 – It has been more than fifty days since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. In his nightly video address, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised the Ukrainian people for surviving so long under relentless attack. Ukraine is also claiming a victory in its efforts to repel Russian forces at sea.

Russia’s military has confirmed that its main warship in the Black Sea, the Moskva, sank while being towed back to port in stormy weather. Moscow says the ship suffered a fire and explosion.

But Ukraine says the damage was caused by its missiles hitting the vessel on Wednesday off the port of Odesa. The loss of the warship is a setback for Russia, and a symbolic victory for Ukraine, which Zelenskyy picked up on in his address.

April 15, 2022 – On April 13, 2022, the Slava-class cruiser Moskva (500 crew, 12,5000 ton displacement) was sunk 100km due south of the coast of Odessa, after being hit by 2 Ukrainian Neptune R-360 anti-ship guided missiles. In this video we review in detail the ships capabilities, the reasons why it was unable to fend of the strike, and the OSINT intelligence leading us to its position at the time of sinking. Furthermore, we dive into the capabilities of the newly fielded Ukrainian anti-ship missile complex ‘Neptune” R-360, designed by the Luch bureau.

Its development can be traced back to 2015, and after many years of teething pains, the system made its explosive debut at one of the pivotal moments of the Ukraine war, successfully destroying the largest Russian warship in the Black Sea, and denying the fleet an air defense umbrella, deterring its free movement in the south-western Black Sea, and hindering its abilities to launch cruise missiles against Ukrainian territory.

April 18, 2022 – Initial reports on the 13.04.2022 of the sinking of the Russian Slava-class cruiser Moskva lacked any objective data to ascertain the extent of damage that occurred, after a strike of the novel Ukrainian ASM system ‘Neptune’. Luckily, a few days later, we now have photographic evidence of the damage sustained to the vessel. We have high confidence that these images show the stricken vessel within the first hours of the missile strike, shortly before her demise due to a lack of damage control, sinking in 100m of water, 100km south off the coast of Odessa. This is the analysis of those faithful images.

April 18, 2022 – Ex-US Navy guys speculate how the Russian cruiser “Moskva” sank so easily.

April 20, 2022 – The Pentagon says it is unknown how many of the estimated 500 crew members on the Russian cruiser Moskva actually survived. The ship sank after Ukraine struck it with two missiles, according to the US. This comes as the father of one Russian sailor aboard the Moskva is demanding answers about his son. Russian warship sinks in the Black Sea after Ukraine claims it was hit by a missile. One of the Russian Navy’s most important warships has sunk in the Black Sea, a massive blow to a military struggling against Ukrainian resistance 50 days into Vladimir Putin’s invasion of his neighbor.

Russian state news agency TASS reported Thursday evening that the guided-missile cruiser Moskva had sunk, citing a statement from the Russian Ministry of Defense. “During the towing of the cruiser Moskva to the port of destination, the ship lost its stability due to hull damage received during a fire from the detonation of ammunition. In the conditions of stormy seas, the ship sank,” the statement said, according to TASS. Conflicting accounts have emerged about the incident.

October 23, 2022 – The Russian Black Sea Fleet entered the Ukrainian war as the unchallenged master of that body of water. Ukraine’s own fleet was small and less modern, and the opening weeks of the war were dominated by news of the Russian fleet launching missile attacks and threatening naval landings that pinned down Ukrainian forces in Odessa. But when the Moskva sank, the pattern of naval activity changed dramatically.

Now, the Russian fleet stays mostly away from the Ukrainian cost, nervous of missile, drone, and air threats posed by an opponent whose own navy is mostly neutralized. In this episode I look at the evolving war in the Black Sea, the evolution and role of the Russian navy there, the sinking of the Moskva – and what if any lessons foreign observers might be taking from the war at sea so far.

December 20, 2022 – At the start of the war, as Russian troops attempted to take over Snake Island in the Black Sea, Ukrainian troops fired back the now infamous retort: “Russian warship, go f**k yourself.”

CNN’s Will Ripley secured an exclusive visit to Snake Island to see what has happened to this strategically significant location in the Russia-Ukraine war.

February 22, 2023 – In late February 2014, armed soldiers in uniforms without insignia began to occupy Crimea. Despite their Russian weapons and equipment, Russia denied involvement. Just two months after their appearance, Putin declared Crimea was now part of Russia. It marked the start of the Russo-Ukrainian War. So what led to Putin’s invasion of Crimea in 2014? And why does the Crimean Peninsula continue to be a crucial sticking point in negotiations in 2023? One year on from the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, we talk to Research Fellow Emily Ferris from RUSI about the origins of the Russo-Ukrainian War and how it’s developed over the past nine years, as well as to photojournalist Anastasia Taylor-Lind who was working in Ukraine between 2014 and 2022.

February 24, 2023 – Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and former Commander of the U.S. Army Europe Lieutenant General Ben Hodges join Meet the Press NOW one year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the U.S. response. There should be “zero pressure” from the U.S. on Ukraine to give up Crimea,” Hodges said.

March 13, 2023 – Why Ukraine raking Crimea will destroy Russia.

March 23, 2023 – Ukraine launched another attack on the port city of Sevastopol in Russian-occupied Crimea on March 22. Footage from the Ukrainian uncrewed surface vessel (USV) and aerial drone attack has emerged online. In one video, the entrance to the Sevastopol Bay was seen on fire but it is unclear what exactly was burning. Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhayev, however, said these strikes were stopped by Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Watch the video how did Russia downplay the attack.


March 31, 2023 – Russian forces captured Ukrainian soldier Yuriy Kuzminskiy on Snake Island on February 24, 2022. During his nine months in Russian captivity, Kuzminskiy says he was tortured and beaten. He claims Russian special forces were hunting for the Ukrainian soldier who spoke the defiant phrase.

April 14, 2023 – Olga Dubinina cannot accept the Kremlin version of events surrounding the sinking of the Moskva in the Black Sea on April 14, 2022. The day before, two Ukraine-launched Neptune rockets were reportedly fired at the Russian missile cruiser. The official number of victims is still unknown.

April 29, 2023 – Russians are in trouble. Ukraine burned their Black Sea fleet fuel depot.

April 29, 2023 – Ukrainians cripple Russian defense before the grand offensive | War in Ukraine Explained.

May 22, 2023 – As part of their spring offensive, it is highly anticipated that Ukraine could make a move to recapture Crimea before the end of the year – a major move forward in the Ukraine war against Russia – and Putin is starting to show signs of panic. Crimean fortifications are beginning to pop up all over the peninsula, showing that Russia is afraid of losing the peninsula, along with the implications that a Ukrainian recapture of Crimea would bring. If Ukraine claimed victory in Crimea, could that spell the end of the war, or at least the end of Vladimir Putin? We’ll discuss all of that, and more, including the troubled history of Crimea, and the history behind Russia’s Crimean annexation, in this video.

June 22, 2023 – How Would Ukraine Liberate Crimea?

July 5, 2023 – Is Ukraine’s counter-offensive successful or not, and is Ukraine going to liberate its territories up to the 1991 borders? What weapons does it need for this? Why is it important to liberate Crimea using long-range rockets? What would be the main targets for such weapons? Will Russians use nuclear power against Ukraine and Europe? What will happen if Russia collapses? Answers to these questions and more in our newest podcast with Lieutenant General Ben Hodges (ret.), former Commanding General of the US Army Europe.

July 18, 2023 – The United Nations Secretary General says he is ‘deeply disappointed’ by Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain deal. He says it is ‘a lifeline’ for global food security. The agreement guarantees the safe passage of food from the Black Sea to many parts of the world.

July 19, 2023 – Russia attacks with 100 000 troops! | Explosions rocked all night in Crimea | Ukrainian war update.

July 29, 2023 – How Ukraine is breaking through Russia’s naval blockade.

July 30, 2023 – While the hardest fighting in Ukraine takes place on land, the Black Sea front saw a stand-off through most of 2022 and early 2023. Russia’s fleet was ranged away from the coast by AShMs, but continued to fire cruise missiles from afar. As time has gone on, the fighting has evolved and new weapons have been deployed, including long range drones. At the same time, the deal which allowed millions of tons of foodstuffs to safely transit the Black Sea now seems to have ended, setting the stage for a potential escalation in fighting and a potential blockade. In this episode, I look at the naval war in 2023, the strikes on the bridge, and the potentially vast implications of the end of the grain export deal.

August 1, 2023 – Crimea is isolated. The whole Russian army in the south is in trouble.

August 1, 2023 – On July 30, an Israeli merchant ship named Ams1 entered the Ukrainian branch of the Danube, defying Russia’s blockade of the Black Sea. It openly declared its destination as Ukraine and safely crossed the Black Sea with the help of American anti-ship patrol aircraft. At least five more vessels, including ones from Greece and Turkey-Georgia, set their course for Ukraine through the Bosporus Strait. NATO closely monitored these civilian vessels as they sailed toward the Ukrainian port of Izmail, with some reports suggesting that Russia may be unwilling or unable to enforce its blockade. In recent incidents, Russia turned away two ships originating from Turkey and forced them to leave its territorial waters stating it had found traces of explosives on the vessels.


August 1, 2023 – Civilian ships from Israel, Greece, and Turkey are defying Russia’s naval blockade threat and are choosing to sail up the Danube River to load Ukrainian grain from their smaller ports on the Romanian border. President Zelensky has made it clear that Ukraine’s only option is “victory or death” as there is no cease-fire or peace agreement that the Russians would ever honor. Russia is publicly bragging that they have illegally deported 700,000 Ukrainian children to Russia to eradicate their Ukrainian identity.

August 3, 2023 – Russian patrol ship heavily damaged in Ukrainian attack | Gerasimov in Ukraine.

August 3, 2023 – Ukraine’s plan to trap Putin in Crimea | Michael Clarke. Could this be the strategy that ends Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine? Michael Clarke outlines three ‘paths to victory’ for Ukraine’s counteroffensive. Route one would end in the ‘bombardment of Crimea,’ if Ukraine is able to break through traps laid by Surovokin.

August 4, 2023 – Two videos provided to CNN appear to show a Ukrainian sea drone attacking a Russian warship in the Black Sea. CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh has more.

August 4, 2023 – Russian landing ship took a hit! | Russian drones in NATO (Romanian) airspace.

August 5, 2023 – Ukrainian sea drones struck a Russian chemical tanker in the Kerch Strait early on August 5, Russian officials said. The latest attack comes just a day after a sea drone hit a Russian navy’s landing ship in the Black Sea basin. The Russian marine agency added that there were no casualties due to the sea drone attack. Two tugboats were at the scene to assist the tanker, Russia’s TASS reported, citing the Maritime Rescue Centre. Traffic on the Kerch Bridge was halted for about three hours and resumed early on August 5. Russian officials said explosions were heard near the bridge, which were linked to the attack on the tanker.

TASS reported that no fuel had been spilled from the ship, which had 11 people on board. The Moscow Times identified the vessel as the chemical tanker SIG, which is under US sanctions for supplying jet fuel. The vessel has been used to supply jet fuel to Russian forces in Syria supporting President Bashar al-Assad. Pro-Russian official Vladimir Rogov said several members of the ship’s crew were injured by broken glass in the attack. Watch this video to know why Putin is scrambling to defend his key ports in Crimea.

August 5, 2023 – The Black Sea drone attacks have changed the game in the Black Sea. Formerly, the Black Sea was dominated by Russia. Now, Ukraine seems to have created an advantage overnight because Russia will not be able to defend against seaborne drones.

August 5, 2023 – Ukraine closes Russian Black Sea harbors! Is China starting to pressure Russia towards peace?

August 5, 2023 – Two nights ago Ukraine’s military successfully struck the Russian warship Olenegorsky Gornyak, permanently taking it out of service. Then last night Ukraine’s military successfully struck the fuel tanker vessel SIG, which is a Russian vessel that transports fuel back and forth from Russia to Syria to support Russia’s military operations in the Middle East. Ukraine also struck a fuel depot in Crimea, launched more drones on Moscow, and had partisans eliminate 20 officers in the occupied territories.

August 5, 2023 – Unveiling the fall of a Russian legend: The sinking of cruiser Moskva. Witness the dramatic end of an era, as Ukraine strikes a blow to Putin’s ambitions and stands tall against its past oppressor.

August 7, 2023 – Russia’s oil wells endangered: Ukraine’s naval drones can have a disproportionate effect.

August 8, 2023 – There’s a fragility in Russia’s logistics and in their command structure that at some point, if enough pressure is applied, I think it cracks.” Russia and Belarus have run out of manpower to start a new offensive or hold back a potential breakthrough once Russian static defenses are overcome, says Former commander of US army Europe Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Ben Hodges.

August 10, 2023 – War is an inherently human business. Much of it takes place in the mind. Shatter your enemy’s will to fight and the physical bit becomes a lot easier. Most soldiers accept the hurly burly of the battlefield. They understand the risks and have reconciled themselves to the possibility of death or injury by bullets, artillery and such like with grim pragmatism. But unseen killers – chemical weapons, booby traps, weapons that don’t play by the Queensberry rules of warfare – these eat away at a soldier’s psychological strength.  Loitering munitions in the air or at sea fit into this category of weapon. They’re deadly, but pretty cheap and basic, so easy to produce in large numbers, and able to attack psychological defences just as much as physical ones. Ukraine’s innovation of maritime drone technology hasn’t fundamentally changed the nature of warfare at sea, but has shown how the psychological dimension can be employed here too.

August 9, 2023 – Ukrainians overcome Russian defenses in Urozhaine and take key position.

00:00 Areas where fighting was reported
00:07 Ukrainians break Russian defenses in Urozhaine
00:47 Russian troops semi-encircled
01:20 Ukrainians capture Russian major & 25 soldiers
02:06 Aftermath of clashes west of Kozachi Laheri
02:39 Russians counter-attack in Klishchiivka
03:12 Ukrainians try to penetrate north of Klishchiivka
04:12 Ukrainians strike back north of Kupyansk

August 13, 2023 – Largest port in Russia has returned to hell! Critical raid on secret Russian shipment from Ukraine!

August 14, 2023 – Ukraine is pushing the boundaries of naval technology, stepping up its game in the realm of naval drones to safeguard its interests in the Black Sea. This strategy is a countermeasure against potential Russian aggression, offering real-time intelligence, surveillance, and heightened offensive capabilities. A prime example of Ukraine’s advancements is the MAGURA V5. This maritime drone, showcased at the prestigious International Defense Industry Fair in Istanbul, boasts an 18-foot hydrodynamic hull with a width of 4.9 feet, specifically designed to ensure optimal stealth and maneuverability in challenging maritime environments.

But Ukraine’s innovation doesn’t stop there. Introducing the Toloka TLK-150, a cutting-edge underwater unmanned vehicle (UUV). This remarkable drone operates just beneath the water’s surface, revealing only a minimal part of its periscope-like communications mast, making detection and interception by adversaries an intricate challenge. The brainchild of BRAVE1, the Ukrainian government’s defense technology coordination platform, this UUV is currently in its prototype phase. However, expectations are high, with production set to commence soon.

August 24, 2023 – Day 547 – Ukrainian Marines PULL OF A STUNNING AMPHIBIOUS OPERATION & STORM RUSSIAN DEFENSE Crimea is at the center of the war agenda today. Just hours after the news of Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin’s death was confirmed, the Ukrainian Armed Forces broke new ground in the war. Ukrainian military intelligence celebrated the country’s independance day with a historic landing operation in Crimea. Ukrainian navy forces announced today that it has carried out a successful amphibious operation in Crimea for the first time. After Ukraine said that it had destroyed an S-400 Russian air defense system in the western part of the peninsula, Tarkhankut, the mind-blowing footage of this striking landing operation, which took place in the settlement close to the same region, has emerged.

In the footage, it was seen that the navy units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were advancing towards the Crimea on the boat. In the video that started in the dark of the night, it was also quite remarkable that the Ukrainian boats were equipped with heavy machine guns and missiles. It turned out that this amphibious operation took place in the area of the settlements of Olenivka and Mayak, in the northwestern tip of Crimea. So after the Ukrainians targeted the S-400 missiles, they did not stop focusing near Cape Tarkhankut. Already, it was claimed that the Ukrainian Intelligence units had been monitoring the Olenivka and Mayak settlements near Cape Tarkhankut for about 3 weeks. With this amphibious operation, it became clear that the intelligence was correct.

It was reported that the Ukrainian navy forces approached these two regions with boats and landed on the shore. It is also claimed that the Ukrainian air force supported this landing operation. According to the current reports shared by the Ukrainian Intelligence Directorate, very severe explosions occurred in Mayak during the Ukrainian navy troops’ first landing operation in Crimea. And then the Ukrainian naval forces carried out all operational tasks after landing on the peninsula. Among the Ukrainian Intelligence reports, there were critical data such as that the Ukrainian navy forces destroyed 4 Russian army speedboats on the peninsula during a special landing operation. In addition, the Ukrainian GUR special intelligence units announced that the Ukrainian Navy Forces destroyed 30 Russian soldiers before the end of the landing operation.

The base of the 3rd Radio Engineering Regiment, part of the radio engineering troops of the Russian Aerospace Forces, was located in the village of Mayak. On the Tarkhankut Peninsula, too, the Russians had a radar node. These were the Nebo-M radar and the Kasta-2E2 radar. Russian forces prepared air defense positions along the area where the radars were located. But it was too late to take action. It is claimed that these radar stations were also damaged during the Ukrainian attacks, despite the preparations of the Russians. One of the most important factors in the heavy casualties of the Russians was the support of the Ukrainian Air Force for this historic amphibious operation near Cape Tarkhankut. Near the end of the landing operation, Ukrainian navy units were seen hanging their national flags on a structure here before boarding their boats and returning.

Images of these unforgettable moments were also shared on social media. After the moments of waving the Ukrainian flag to Crimea with this amphibious operation, it was understood that the operation was over for the Ukrainians. Ukrainian navy units ended the landing operation and boarded their boats in the dark of night and left the Crimean ‘s Olenivka and Mayak coasts. Again in the dark of the night, very close to the first light of the morning, the journey of the Ukrainian navy began. This time, the navy forces got what they wanted in the Crimea and were advancing towards the Ukrainian shores. Images of these moments of victory were also shared. No one from the Ukrainian amphibious crew was reported killed or injured on the return journey.

So, for the first time, the Ukrainians reminded the Russians that they would retake Crimea with an ingenious amphibious operation. In other words, Ukrainian navy and air force personnel taught the Russians an unforgettable lesson late at night today. The fact that Ukraine, whose naval power is less than that of Russia, carries out such a planned and determined amphibious operation indicates that some fundamental balances have changed in Crimea. Amphibious landings also appear to be one of the most important actions to date, designed to boost Ukraine’s morale and once again humiliate Russian forces that have spent years fortifying the peninsula in the event of a future Ukrainian attack.

September 7, 2023 – This is the Ukrainian Self Made Kamikazi drone and works by sucking in water from a hatch and flushing out a jet of water that propels the Naval drone at a speed of 50 miles per hour. All this at a cost of $250,000 while its high-value targets are worth more than $650 million. They usually work like a wolf pack hunting its target, while they are being controlled through Starlink Video link, destroying bridges, and recently managed to penetrate an important harbor and damage two vessels.

September 12, 2023 – The Russian military has lost control over the oil and gas platforms off the coast of Crimea as Ukraine continues to gain stronger military control over the waters off Crimea. Ukraine’s window of opportunity to continue advancing before the weather turns the war zone in to mud fields again is about 45 more days. North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un made the train ride to Moscow so Putin could kiss his feet and beg for artillery shells.

September 13, 2023 – Sky News has been looking into what is known about the condition of the vessels in the dry dock that was attacked today in Sevastopol, Crimea. A satellite image taken yesterday morning shows that there was a warship and submarine in the dry dock. These have been identified by military experts as a Ropucha-class landing ship and a Kilo-class submarine. Russia’s defense ministry has said two military vessels were damaged in the overnight missile strike on the shipyard and 24 people were wounded. British Storm Shadow missiles were used in the attack on occupied Crimea, Sky News understands.

September 13, 2023 – DISASTER for the Black Seas Fleet! Russia loses at least two ships. 

September 13, 2023 – “This deep battle is causing serious trouble to Russia. It’s probably in many ways more important than the frontline battle.” Ukraine has “successfully taken out” Russia’s submarines and surface ships, says Major General Tim Cross.

September 14, 2023 – Ukraine’s remarkable cruise missile strike on Sevastopol cost the Russian Navy two important vessels. A Kilo class submarine and a landing ship. However, there’s more to these attacks than is being reported, let’s dive in. Unscripted and unedited, just raw defense analysis.

September 14, 2023 – The Ukrainian military has successfully struck Sevastopol and destroyed a Russian submarine and landing ship while still in dry dock for servicing. Russia’s air defenses failed to stop long range cruise missiles as Ukraine has been targeting and wearing down Russia’s air defense systems on the peninsula for months. While is Black Sea Fleet burned in harbor, Putin flew to the far east of Russia to beg Kim Jun Un and the North Koreans for military help.

September 16, 2023 – Ukraine is dominating the Russian navy – with a navy of its own.

September 16, 2023 – Day 570 – Today, there are a lot of interesting updates from the south. First of all, recently, it was confirmed that Ukrainians conducted another series of marine drone strikes on the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Russian sources reported that last evening Ukrainians targeted two more missile-launching corvettes: “Samum” and “Askold”. The Russian Ministry of Defense reported that all drones were destroyed by machine gun fire, however, shortly, local residents of Sevastopol filmed a video of how one of the warships is being tugged into the bay, so apparently, not all drones were shot down. What is even more interesting is that Ukrainians used just one drone to target this warship. Ukrainian Special Operators reported that they tested out an experimental version of the marine drone “Sea Baby”. The released footage from the drone shows how it sets out from Snake Island.

As it turned out, the attack happened when the warship was returning to the bay from patrol. Ukrainians also picked this time because the weather should have deteriorated by that time, and the waves reached up to 2 meters. The experimental drone showed an exceptional capability to operate in stormy weather, which now gives Ukrainians a tactical advantage, as high waves conceal the drone and do not allow Russians to identify and destroy it easily. That is why it took only one drone to hit the ship. The drone exploded near the stern of the ship, inflicting substantial damage, and the ship lost the ability to move, and started drifting. As can be seen from the footage, the ship also had a significant trim by stern and roll to starboard. Unfortunately for Russians, the boat cannot be repaired in Sevastopol because prior to launching attacks on the Russian Fleet, Ukrainians targeted the only repair facilities in Sevastopol.

In total, over the last 4 days, Ukrainians attacked the Russian boat “Tunets”, the submarine “Rostov na Donu”, the assault landing ship “Misk”, and 4 missile-launching ships: “Vasiliy Bykov”, “Sergey Kotov”, “Samum”, and “Askold”. 2 of them managed to get away intact, 2 more were noticeably damaged, and 3 more destroyed. According to Forbes, the total worth of destroyed Russian equipment exceeds 34 billion dollars, and over the last few days, Ukrainians added to that at least 2 more billion, which is a clear testament to the success of the operations conducted in the Black Sea. By the way, today, it was confirmed that the United States provided Ukraine with 3D printers that are capable of maintaining a large-scale production of various details, including those used for building the new generation of marine kamikaze drones.

The Ukrainian Minister of Innovation and Technologies announced that from now on, Ukrainians will be able to attack the Russian Black Sea Fleet with higher frequency and more potency. As he succinctly said, I guarantee that there will be more drones, more attacks, and fewer Russian ships. When he was asked about the estimates, he said by the end of this year, the number of drone attacks will increase by 120 to 140 times compared to the previous year. The minister said that they are working on implementing artificial intelligence into drones so that in case of losing signal, the drones are able to identify and destroy the target themselves. The Head of the Foundation “Return Alive” recently gave an interview and commented on the recent drone strikes.

He said that the Russian invasion triggered an urgent development of the Ukrainian military-industrial complex, and now Ukrainians have several competing firms that produce various types of kamikaze drones. He said that they are constantly developing new tactics that leverage the strengths of the vessel and try to eliminate any shortcomings. He said that right now, the biggest shortcoming is that drones are not hard to destroy if they are detected in a timely manner. And while the ships may have some troubles, especially in less-than-perfect weather conditions, helicopters destroy such drones with ease. Right now, Ukrainians are working on developing a new generation of drones that can deploy smokescreens and other methods for complicating aiming for the enemy, and in prospect, the drones will have weapons as well that can target the ships from a distance and return to the base.

September 18, 2023 – Day 572 – Today, there are a lot of updates from the south. First of all, more information became available about the devastating Ukrainian strike on the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Today, the Conflict Intelligence Team published leaked photos of the Russian submarine “Rostov na Donu” and it revealed a lot of additional information. The analysts concluded that the submarine suffered from at least 3 missiles, 1 of which landed precisely on top of the vessel, inflicting fatal damage. What this means is that, firstly, given that Ukrainians also destroyed the assault landing ship “Misk”, there were likely more than 3 missiles that passed through the Russian air defense. And secondly, the missiles proved to be capable of hitting relatively small objects with very high accuracy, which is why Russian analysts once again started raising discussions about the level of protection of the main Crimean Bridge that connects it to Russia.

So far, from aerial means, Ukrainians have only used several missiles S-200. These are modernized Soviet missiles, which is why Russians managed to intercept them, and the bridge is still standing. However, if Ukrainians decide to use Storm Shadow missiles, the outcome will likely be different. Russians understand this, which is why, as a precaution, every time they detect that Ukrainians are using Su-24M, Russians close the bridge. Some Russian analysts also raised concerns about the leakage of footage. The photos of the damaged submarine were not available in the first days because the submarine has a low profile compared to the assault landing ship “Minsk”, which is why it could not be seen from the residential houses.

Russian Military obviously tried to conceal the result of the work, but as it turned out, someone who was present on the site sold these pictures to a Ukrainian Intelligence agent. The footage not only allowed to verify the destruction of the target but also the precision of the strike, opening the door to planning more sophisticated strikes on smaller targets. And Ukrainians continued conducting drone strikes on Crimea. Today local residents reported hearing explosions in the southern part of Sevastopol, near Cape Fiolent, and near Belbek airfield. Yesterday, explosions were reported once again in Sevastopol and also Feodosia. The Head of Ukrainian Intelligence Kyrylo Budanov stated that regular drone strikes on Russia and Russian-controlled territories have the following 3 goals. Firstly, Ukrainians are trying to exhaust Russian air defense.

And even though Russians do replenish their reserves, constant strikes do not allow Russians to be fully ready, and if there are some logistical problems and bottlenecks in some regions, then the air defense may not have enough rockets during the decisive moment. But the drones obviously are not just launched to be shot down by the air defense, and even if the probability of such an outcome is high, the drones always have a real military target. Ironically, as we have seen several days ago in Sevastopol, sometimes the target of the drones becomes the air defense systems themselves. However, the primary military target of Ukrainian forces right now is Russian aviation. In fact, during the last month, Ukrainians damaged and destroyed so many Russian strategic transport airlifters and bombers that Russians started relocating them and putting tires on the fuselage.

The effectiveness of the measures is quite doubtful because the shrapnel from explosions is capable of penetrating metal, however, the new style clearly highlights the increased level of concerns about the losses in aviation. Finally, the third goal of continued drone strikes is the destruction of the infrastructure that is critical for supporting war efforts. One such target today became the huge Russian oil depot in Feodosia. Even in this particular case, the drones were shot down, some strikes are quite successful, like yesterday’s strike on the Russian rocket fuel factory in the Tver region or last week’s strike on the administrative building of the biggest factory of microelectronics, which is indispensable in the contemporary equipment.

September 21, 2023 – In this video, General Ben Hodges shares his thoughts on the current situation in Russia and Ukraine. General Ben Hodges is the commander of the US Army Europe, and he has a lot of knowledge and experience to share about the situation in Russia and Ukraine. As the commander of US Army Europe, General Ben Hodges has a unique perspective on the situation in Russia and Ukraine. In this video, he shares his thoughts on the current state of affairs in Russia and Ukraine, and what the future holds for the people of Ukraine and Crimea.

September 21, 2023 – President Zelenskyy has left New York City after speaking to the United Nations and now is in Washington DC to meet with military and Congressional leaders before members of Congress vote on the fiscal budget for next year. Solovyov on Kremlin Stat TV declares that the natural state of man is to be at war and that this war in Ukraine is the destiny of all Russian men (except him and his own sons).

September 22, 2023 – Day 576 – Today, there is a lot of news from the south. As promised by the Head of Ukrainian Intelligence, the attacks on the Russian bases in Crimea continued. By conducting these operations, Ukrainians are pursuing 2 goals of strategic significance: undermine supplies to the front and force Russians to relocate their air defense away from the front. Today, Ukrainians conducted a very complex strike, combining aerial drones, modified anti-ship missiles, and cruise missiles. The main target of today’s strike became the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Interestingly, 2 days ago, we saw how Ukrainians destroyed the secondary headquarters of the Command of the Fleet, so it looks like Ukrainians wanted to make sure that the Russian Command was present in the main building during today’s strike. There were 2 stages.

At first, Ukrainians launched several groups of drones toward Tarkhankut and Sevastopol to overload the air defense and then tried to strike Sevastopol with Neptune missiles. Russians were waiting for and prioritizing the missiles, which is why even though some drones hit their targets, all Neptune missiles were shot down. But the strike continued, seamlessly flowing into the second stage. The aerial drone strikes intensified even more, and Russians could no longer ignore it. Local residents reported explosions in Feodosia, likely near the oil depots. Explosions were also reported in Chornomorske and Saky, where the drones likely targeted the airfield. Ukrainian drones were also seen close to Simferopol. All of that was done to exhaust the Russian air defense because some Russian systems, like the remaining S-400, could intercept missiles very far from the area where they are stationed.

And it worked, because when Ukrainians launched Storm Shadow missiles, they once again flew over Tarkhankut, without being shot down, implying that air defense was overwhelmed. As a result, Ukrainians successfully hit the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet. Russian sources reported that the missile hit precisely the cabinet of the Commander of the Black Sea Navy. Other sources noted that there were at least 6 casualties. Russian forces understood that there were likely more missiles to come, which is why they turned on the siren and deployed smokescreen to conceal the navy. And the Russians were right, because very soon, local residents managed to catch on camera the arrival of 2 more missiles. The Russian Ministry of Defense reported that Ukrainians hit the Navy Headquarters, and as a result, 1 person is missing, who was likely the commander himself.

Other military-affiliated sources claimed that there was no one in the building, however, dozens of ambulances suggest otherwise. In response to the strike, Russians rolled out their multiple-launch rocket systems to the shore, however, no one knows why. Russian military analysts got upset with the performance of the Russian air defense and expressed doubt about the characteristics of the highly-praised S-400 air defense system, as even the remaining 3 systems on the peninsula should have coped with the strike, especially given their integration with other systems on the peninsula. Some Russian analysts have been asserting for already 3 days in a row that Ukrainians are actually using ATACMS missiles that were shipped to Ukraine discreetly.

But the abundant photos and videos clearly show that Russians were struck with Strom Shadow and Scalp missiles. Nonetheless, today it was confirmed that the United States will send Ukraine ATACMS missiles. President Biden reportedly promised President Zelensky to send a small number of such missiles. However, Ukrainians should receive not the 300 km version that can wipe out big targets but a 140 km cluster bomb variant. This is extremely good news because Ukrainians already have HIMARS systems that can be used to launch them, so no additional steps are needed (like training or modification of aircraft that Ukrainians had to introduce to Su-24 to be able to carry Storm Shadow and Scalp missiles). Judging by the dynamics inside the Russian media space, Russians are already bracing for the new wave of strikes in the deep rear.

September 23, 2023 – “The Russians may have to withdraw from Crimea.” Ukraine’s attack on Russia’s Black Sea fleet will make Moscow reconsider “whether they can stay in Crimea”, says former US Ambassador to Ukraine William B Taylor.

September 23, 2023 – The headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol has been destroyed by Ukraine through the use of Western donated cruise missiles. The United States is heading for another government shutdown. Russia is struggling across their front lines and Russian morale reaches new lows.

September 25, 2023 – Ukraine has claimed the commander for Russia’s Black Sea fleet was killed in an attack last week on the fleet headquarters in the Crimean port of Sevastopol. Sky’s security and defense analyst Professor Michael Clarke says it looks very likely that Admiral Viktor Sokolov died.

September 26, 2023 – “Their air defense is not properly coordinated or very effective in Crimea…Russia cannot actually defend this place.” Ukraine will make Crimea untenable and force Putin’s Black Sea Fleet out of Sevastopol if Russian air defenses don’t improve, says Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges.

October 2, 2023 – Russian Navy COLLAPSED: More than 22 Battleships HARD-HIT by Turkish made Bayraktar TB-2’s!

October 4, 2023 – Day 588 – Today, the biggest news comes from the south. Here, Ukrainian forces conducted an amphibious operation under the cover of missile and drone strikes on Crimea. Russian sources reported that closer to midnight, Ukrainian forces launched a marine attack on 3 jet skis and 1 boat in the direction of Cape Tarkhankut. Russian sources reported that the Russian border guards detected 4 vessels, killed at least one soldier, forced Ukrainians to flee, and then chased them down with a fighter jet Su-30 until Ukrainians got to the oil rigs. Later, Ukrainian fighters from the special detachments of Ukrainian Intelligence released a video showing that the landing operation was actually successful. The video also featured 6 jet skis, not 3 as reported by the Russian sources.

The Spokesman for the Ukrainian Intelligence Andrii Yusov stated that Ukrainians initiated a fierce fight with the Russian forces on the shore, inflicted losses, and timely withdrew. He also admitted that the Ukrainian assault unit incurred losses as well, although not comparable to Russian. Later, Russian sources corrected themselves and claimed that Russians only captured 1 Ukrainian soldier who fell off the vessel. So, based on the reports from both sides and the corroborating visual evidence, it seems like the Russians completely missed the attack, Ukrainians successfully landed near the Russian base and opened fire, and once Russians woke up and started putting up resistance, Ukrainians withdrew on at least 6 jet skis. By the time the Russian border guards got to the shore, they only noticed the 3 jet skis that departed the latest and found one Ukrainian soldier who fell off the vessel.

Simultaneously, Ukrainians conducted a missile and drone strike on the peninsula. Russian sources reported that Ukrainians struck Sevastopol with ballistic missiles Neptune and also struck Inzhenerne with drones. The reason why the landing operation was accompanied by the strike is twofold: firstly, Ukrainians needed to divert the attention of the Russians to the sky, and secondly, prevent Russians from using their aviation, which is the deadliest weapon to the vessels. Even though the scale of this particular strike was small, the Russian air defense operators continuously anticipated more aerial objects, and after witnessing previous huge strikes, they were ready to shoot down anything that was detected. And the Russian air defense operators have become notorious for shooting down their own aviation, so, during the strikes, they abstain from using aviation – which is precisely what the Ukrainians needed.

By the time Russians figured out what was happening and sent their jets to chase down the jet skis, Ukrainians were already halfway to the oil rigs, where they found shelter. And this is an extremely important point. As it turned out, over the last two months of continuous amphibious operations, Ukrainians managed to establish control over all oil rigs located near Crimea. In fact, the success of this operation is the only reason why Ukrainians were able to drive the Russian Fleet as well as aviation away from the Black Sea, get close to Crimea. There are a lot of oil rigs located between Odesa and Crimea, some of which are just 55 km away from the Crimean shore. One by one, Ukrainians established control over all oil rigs and not only stole Russian ammunition, fuel, and radars but also equipped them with their own radars, air defense, and other equipment for amphibious operations.

The results of the 2-month-long operation are hard to overestimate. Russians lost the ability to get close to the Odesa region on the ships. Russians also lost crucial bases for their helicopters. Russian jets now have to avoid the rigs because of the risk of being shot down, at least with man-portable air defense. Ukrainians got very close to the shore and increased the efficiency of reconnaissance tenfold, which resulted in multiple devastating attacks on the Russian air defense systems in Tarkhankut, which in turn opened the sky for the ballistic and cruise missiles that later hit Sevastopol and airfields, and headquarters around it. The bottom line is Ukrainians have eliminated the threat of the massive Russian attack from the sea on Odesa, which was one of the primary fears of Ukrainians at the beginning of the war. Ironically, Ukrainians were the ones who crossed the Black Sea and landed on the enemy shore first.

October 23, 2023 – “Putin desperately wants to change the narrative of Russia is beginning to back up in Ukraine. That narrative is destructive for him. He’ll have to try to hide it from his own people in Russia.” ATACMS strikes in Ukraine could be the beginning of the end for Putin in Crimea and Russia if the US supplied ATACMS strikes continue, Gen. Philip Breedlove tells Frontline.

November 8, 2023 – “I don’t think the Russians feel at this moment they’re about to lose Crimea, but it’s taken them way too much, they’ve got major blows to their prestige and it’s hard to explain inside Mother Russia.” Putin will be facing serious questions in Russia about failure to stop repeated strikes on Crimea as Ukraine gets significant upgrades to their missile reach, Retired Brigadier General Peter Zwack tells Frontline on timesradio.

November 16, 2023 – Putin has yet to announce his re-election campaign as he puts more pressure on his military to achieve some kind of tangible victory on the battlefield before he gives his speech to the nation. The US House went into recess for two weeks, but Ukraine is signaling that they are now confident that strong future military assistance from the United States will continue with a possible vote on another aid package coming in December. Ukraine continues to export their civilian grain out through the Black Sea, and this should be celebrated as a huge military victory as Russia cannot enforce a blockade.

November 17, 2023 – “Russia abandoning Crimea will be a gigantic step towards ending this war because I think for Russia, Crimea is what it’s all about.”