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Russian new fleet unit in Azov sea - UK intelligence

Russian new fleet unit in Azov sea - UK intelligence Russian warship (Russian media)
Author: Maria Kholina

On July 1, 2023, the Russian Navy established a new Azov Naval District, headquartered in the occupied Ukrainian port city of Mariupol. It is likely aimed at supporting logistical and counter-insurgency operations, reported the Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom on Twitter.

According to the report, the district will be under the command of the Black Sea Fleet (BSF) and will comprise eight combat ships, including three modern Karakurt-class corvettes capable of launching Kalibr cruise missiles.

British intelligence suggests that the Azov Sea is a vital maritime area for Russia because it links its inland waterways to international maritime routes. In the context of the war, it also offers an alternative military resupply option should Russia’s over-land routes to southern Ukraine be disrupted.

"The Azov Naval District will likely focus on supporting logistical and counter-partisan tasks, freeing up the main BSF to concentrate on long range strike operations and projecting maritime power further abroad," said the Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom.

Russian fleet losses

Since the beginning of the war, Ukrainian forces have reportedly destroyed 18 Russian ships and boats, including the flagship cruiser "Moscow."

On July 2, in commemoration of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Naval Day, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the Russians would fear approaching Ukrainian Crimea and the shores of the Azov Sea.

"The enemy will not dictate terms in the Black Sea, the occupiers will have to fear approaching our Ukrainian Crimea and our shores of the Azov Sea, just as Russian ships already fear approaching our Black Sea coast," he declared.

He reminded everyone of Russia's ambitions at the start of the full-scale aggression and the current situation with those ambitions lie at the bottom of the Black Sea.