The Russian Black Sea Fleet has begun withdrawing its warships from its naval base of Sevastopol, redeploying the vessels to Novorossiysk. All three operational Kilo-class submarines have also been withdrawn. The move follows successful Ukrainian strikes on the naval base.
On 3 October, UK military intelligence reported that the Russian Black Sea Fleet based in Sevastopol is encountering difficulties in managing simultaneous threats on the southern flank of the Ukraine war. Furthermore, it is anticipated that the fleet’s operations will be relocated to Novorossiysk due to the threats posed to Sevastopol and that Russia is currently endeavouring to employ naval air power to exert its influence over the north-western Black Sea.
On 13 September Ukraine struck the drydock facilities in the port badly damaging a Russian Kilo-class submarine and a Ropucha-class landing ship, both of which were in the dry dock for repair work.
On 22 September Ukraine successfully struck the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea fleet using UK-supplied Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missiles.
The Atesh partisan movement operating in the Crimea stated on their Telegram channel on 19 September that they had conducted reconnaissance of one of the warship moorings, located between the small bays “Dokovaya” and “Hollandia”, at coordinates: 44.6242768, 33.5569008 and that according to their observations, some of the warships have already been withdrawn, and some are preparing for this.
“Our agent conducted reconnaissance of one of the warships’ parking areas, located between the small bays of Dokova and Gollandiya. According to our observations, some of the warships have already been withdrawn, and some are being prepared for this,” the report said.
“Russian warships made the only right decision – to leave Sevastopol. We wish all troops to make the same decision. Otherwise, they will not be able to escape,” the partisans said.