Sevastopol Port Witnesses Systematic Departure of Russian Warships

Warships from Russia's Black Sea Fleet participate in the Navy Day festivities in the port city of Novorossiysk on July 30, 2023.
Warships from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet participate in the Navy Day festivities in the port city of Novorossiysk on July 30, 2023. (Photograph by STRINGER / AFP)

November 14, 2023 – Sevastopol, Crimea: In a surprising turn of events, spokespersons for Ukrainian partisans operating covertly in Crimea have revealed to the media that a significant number of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet warships have departed from their home port in Sevastopol. What’s more intriguing is that there seems to be a lack of urgency in their return.

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ATESH, a representative of the military partisan movement comprising Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, disclosed that the exodus of Russian warships began following successful missile strikes on Sevastopol in September. These strikes, executed by British and French cruise missiles launched by Ukrainian Air Force bombers, inflicted substantial damage on the Russian naval assets stationed in Sevastopol.

Among the casualties were a Russian amphibious assault ship, a modern attack submarine, three military dry docks, and the Black Sea Fleet headquarters building, which suffered two hits during a meeting attended by senior BSF staff, including the fleet commander. The effectiveness of these strikes, as revealed by a partisan spokesperson, was partially due to insider cooperation within the Russian Navy, providing crucial targeting information to Ukrainian operatives.

Multiple reports from Ukrainian observers confirm that by early October, a significant number of Russian warships had left Sevastopol harbor en masse. Two months after the missile strikes, these ships have not returned. Instead, they have reportedly transferred to less-capable naval facilities in the port of Novorossiysk, situated in Russia’s Kuban region.

Ukrainian agents operating within Russian territory are actively monitoring the movements of the Russian fleet from Novorossiysk. Sources suggest that plans for further strikes on the relocated fleet are in the works. The ATESH spokesperson revealed, “We know that they (Russian fleet commanders) are looking for ways to counter Ukrainian strikes. However, earlier in August, there were already strikes on Novorossiysk.”

In a bold public statement, the ATESH movement claimed that Russian naval leadership is in a state of panic, anticipating future attacks on their fleet and scrambling to devise strategies to protect their assets. The situation remains tense, with Ukrainian forces closely monitoring and strategizing, ready to respond to any potential counteroffensives by the Russian Navy.

As the global community watches these developments unfold, questions arise about the long-term impact on the balance of power in the Black Sea region and the broader implications for the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

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