After attacks by the Ukrainian armed forces in the annexed Crimea, the Russian army withdraws its ships from the Bay of Sevastopol. Russian ports are running out of space, so some of the units may be transferred to the separatist Abkhazia, said Vadym Skibicki, a representative of Ukrainian military intelligence.
– Active work is underway in the area of the city of Ochamchyra, this is Abkhazia. The Russians carried out activities there related to deepening the local port, rebuilding the port infrastructure in some places to provide a base for warships. But this place will not be enough, said Skibicki, quoted by the website of the Ukrainian television Suspilne.
Abkhazia is a separatist republic Georgia. After the war in the Caucasus in August 2008 Russia recognized its independence and strengthened its military presence there. The military base of the Russian army, numbering several thousand soldiers, is located in Gudauta, located on the Black Sea coast about 500 km southeast of Crimea.
Agreement with separatists
At the beginning of October, Russia signed an agreement with the separatist Abkhazia to establish a permanent base on the Black Sea coast. The decision was made after the September attack by Ukrainian forces on the port of Sevastopol. As a result, a fire broke out in the shipyard. Two Russian ships were damaged: the large landing craft Minsk and the Rostov-on-Don submarine.
The naval base in the Ochamchyra area existed back in the times of the Soviet Union. According to Reuters, Russia’s signing of the agreement may indicate that it is looking for an alternative to Sevastopol in the annexed Crimea.
Withdrawal of ships to the port of Novorossiysk
The Russians began to withdraw ships from the port of Sevastopol to the port of Novorossiysk. As previously estimated by the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW), at least 10 ships were transferred to this place, including the guided missile frigates Admiral Makarov and Admiral Essen, three diesel submarines and five landing ships.
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