Ukraine changed the balance of power in the maritime conflict during the war, says “The New York Times” in its Sunday analysis. The American daily states that Ukrainian forces were able to successfully use naval drones and a growing arsenal of long-range anti-ship missiles to strike the Russian fleet, causing significant damage to the enemy navy.
The New York Times began its Sunday publication with the words that the commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Vice Admiral Oleksiy Nejizhpapa, keeps in his office in Odessa two trophies symbolizing successes in the Black Sea.
One of them is the cover of the launcher, used in April 2022 sinking of the flagship of the Russian Navy – the cruiser Moskva. “This devastating attack helped push Russian warships away from the Ukrainian coast,” the NYT journalist noted.
The second trophy is a key used to arm the British Storm Shadow missile hit the headquarters of the Russian Navy in Sevastopol in the annexed Crimea.
“NYT”: despite the lack of ships, they changed the balance of power in the maritime conflict
– We dreamed of creating a beautiful recreational park for children in this place to remove the source of evil that is currently there – Oleksiy Nejizhpapa told the American daily, referring to the attack on the Russian naval headquarters.
– Sevastopol is my hometown – he added. – For me, it is my little homeland, where I was born, where my children were born. Therefore, of course, I dream that the time will come – hopefully soon – when we will return to our naval base in Sevastopol, confessed the commander of the Ukrainian Navy.
Despite the lack of its own warships Ukraine changed the balance of power in the maritime conflict during the war. The use of naval drones and a growing arsenal of long-range anti-ship missiles, surveillance by Western allies, and targeted attacks by the Ukrainian Air Force and special operations forces have allowed Ukraine to deny the advantages of a much more powerful weapon – the Russian navy.
– At the moment, the Russian Black Sea Fleet is primarily what naval strategists call a “fleet in reality.” A potential threat against which we must vigilantly defend ourselves, but which remains under control, commented RAND think tank expert Scott Savitz. – It is extraordinary that Ukraine has achieved all this without having its own significant fleet – he admitted.
The Ukrainians went on the offensive
Vice Admiral Oleksiy Neyizhpapa noted that the Russian Federation is still superior to Ukraine in terms of weapons.
Ukrainians lack the battlecruisers, destroyers, frigates and submarines that the Russian Navy has. Russian planes still dominate the sea, a Russia continues to use its fleet to launch long-range missiles at Ukrainian cities.
The Russian Navy also dominates the Sea of Azov and is increasingly using ports in the occupied cities of Mariupol and Berdyansk to solve logistical problems on land.
However, Ukraine managed to undermine some of these advantages and recently went on the offensive. Over the past two months, it has carried out both covert night operations involving small units and powerful missile attacks. These attacks affected not only the naval headquarters in Sevastopol, but also a Kilo-class submarine and a shipyard in the eastern part of Crimea – writes the New York Times.
British deputy minister: Russians have suffered a “functional failure”
After attacks by Ukrainian forces, the Russian army withdraws ships from the Sevastopol Bay area. Earlier, representatives of Ukrainian intelligence reported that some Russian ships, due to lack of space in Russian ports, could be transferred to the separatist Abkhazia (located within the borders of Georgia).
Although offensive operations on the ground largely ceased and neither Russian nor Ukrainian forces were able to break through the heavily fortified lines, Ukraine effectively turned over 16,000 square kilometers of area in the western Black Sea (off the southern coast) into what the military calls a “gray zone” that neither side can approach without the threat of attack, says the New York Times.
British Deputy Defense Minister James Heappey, quoted by the American daily, stated that the Russian Black Sea Fleet had suffered a “functional failure” and that the liberation of Ukrainian coastal waters in the Black Sea was as important as last year’s successful counteroffensives on land in Kherson and Kharkov.
The confrontation between Ukraine and Russia at sea also changed the idea of the methods of conducting naval warfare. New technologies played a special role in this.
– The classic approach that we learned in naval academies does not work now, Nejiżpapa noted. He added: – That is why we must be as flexible as possible and, whenever possible, change our approach to planning and implementing our tasks.
The commander of the Ukrainian Navy recalled that the design and construction of warships takes years, and their modernization to meet new challenges takes even more time. However, marine drones are improving every month.
Ukrainian forces use, among others, experimental Sea Baby naval drones to attack Russian ships.
Main photo source: Katrina Kochneva/Zuma Press/Forum