A UK intelligence update released on Tuesday has stated that Ukraine’s recent attacks directed at Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which includes a missile strike on its headquarters resulting in the reported death of its commander, have had an impact on the fleet, leaving it “diminished.” However, the report also notes that the fleet still retains the capability to carry out its essential wartime functions.
“The Russian Black Sea Fleet (BSF) has suffered a series of major attacks in recent weeks, culminating in strikes on its headquarters on 20 and 22 September 2023. These attacks have been more damaging and more coordinated than thus far in the war,” the British ministry of defense said in its war intelligence update.
Ukraine had launched a missile attack on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea navy in the Crimean port of occupied Sevastopol on Saturday. The Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Monday that the strike killed 34 Russian officers, including the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
The Ukrainian Navy said on Tuesday that the Russians will face challenges in controlling their troops deployed in the Black Sea area after the Ukrainian strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet killed their commander.
The UK ministry said: “The physical damage to the BSF is almost certainly severe but localized. The fleet almost certainly remains capable of fulfilling its core wartime missions of cruise missile strikes and local security patrols.”
It added: “It is, however, likely that its ability to continue wider regional security patrols and enforce its de facto blockade of Ukrainian ports will be diminished. It also likely has a degraded ability to defend its assets in port and to conduct routine maintenance.”
“A dynamic, deep strike battle is underway in the Black Sea. This is likely forcing Russia into a reactive posture whilst demonstrating that Ukraine’s military can undermine the Kremlin’s symbolic and strategic power projection from its warm water port in occupied Sevastopol,” the British report stated.