Putin navy chiefs 'shying away from sending ships to Crimea' after two more hit by Ukrainian attacks

Putin navy chiefs 'shying away from sending ships to Crimea' after two more hit by Ukrainian attacks

Vladimir Putin’s navy chiefs will be shying away from sending ships to a key Crimea base after two more were hit by Ukrainian attacks, say military experts.

But The Institute for the Study of War stressed that other Russian military ports were unable to carry out some tasks, done at Sevastopol, such as handling some types of missiles.

So Russian ships may still have to use the Crimean port, despite Putin’s navy suffering a series of losses.

The Ukrainian military said it hit two large Russian landing ships in attacks on the annexed Crimean peninsula early on Sunday, as well as a communications centre and other infrastructure used by the Russian navy in the Black Sea.

The statement did not say how it hit the targets, but a Moscow-installed official in the region reported a major Ukrainian air attack and said air defences had shot down more than ten missiles over the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

“The defence forces of Ukraine successfully hit the Azov and Yamal large landing ships, a communications centre and also several infrastructure facilities of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in temporarily occupied Crimea,” Ukraine’s military said.

In a new briefing, the Institute for the Study of War said: “ISW previously assessed that Ukrainian strikes against BSF (Black Sea Fleet) assets caused the BSF to move some ships away from its main base in Sevastopol and hampered its ability to operate in the western part of the Black Sea.

“Ukrainian officials have recently reported that other BSF bases are structurally inferior to the one in Sevastopol and that Russian forces must still perform some tasks, such as reloading Kalibr missile systems on ships and submarines, in Sevastopol as other bases lack the capacity to handle such missiles.

“The latest Ukrainian strikes targeting BSF ships, regardless of the extent of the damage caused, will likely continue to deter Russian forces from redeploying ships to Sevastopol and the western Black Sea and complicate the BSF’s ability to maximize its combat capabilities.”

Putin’s army has been gradually seizing more territory in eastern Ukraine, as Republicans in Washington have been blocking a huge new military aid package for Kyiv.

Putin’s navy has been pushed back, with the flagship of his Black Sea fleet, the Moskva, being sunk in April 2022.

Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol, said a 65-year-old man was killed when three homes were hit by shrapnel in the latest Ukrainian attack on Crimea.

He also said earlier on Sunday that transport infrastructure including passenger boats and buses were partially damaged, with windows broken on five boats. Three passenger buses, 13 school buses and one trolley bus were among vehicles damaged, he added.