The ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet have been pulled more than 100 km away from the Ukrainian coast, the command of the Ukrainian Navy says. According to Kiev, Russia currently keeps about 30 ships and submarines in the Black Sea, ensuring the blockade of the coast and Ukrainian ports. However, the Russian fleet has lost full control over the northwestern part of the Black Sea area, the Ukrainian Navy claims.
To regain control over the area and protect its ships, Russia has deployed Bal and Bastion coastal missile systems in Crimea and the Kherson region and is moving additional forces to Snake Island. Since the beginning of the war, more than 300 missiles have been fired at Ukrainian territory from the Black Sea.
Russian ships moved a considerable distance away from Ukrainian shores two weeks after the reports that U.S. anti-ship Harpoon missiles had been delivered to Ukraine. According to Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov, Ukraine’s coastal defense will be strengthened with those weapons. “I am sure that the combat fraternity of Harpoons and our Neptuns will help liberate our Black Sea and make it safe again, and in particular will reliably protect our Odessa,” Reznikov said.
President Vladimir Zelensky said on June 6 that the anti-ship systems supplied from abroad remain the best guarantee for deblocking Ukrainian ports for grain exports. “We are working on this and we will get anti-ship systems. It’s not a threat. It will be our best guarantee,” UNIAN quoted the president as saying.
Denmark has agreed to supply Harpoon missile systems to Ukraine in accordance with the US decision. These cruise missiles, depending on the modification, can hit targets from 90 to almost 300 km away.
Ukraine has already successfully used cruise missiles against the Russian Navy in the Black Sea. On April 13, Ukraine said that it had hit the Black Sea Fleet’s flagship cruiser Moskva with Neptun anti-ship missiles. On April 14, the Russian Defense Ministry reported the loss of the Moskva while it was being towed to port. Shortly before that, the Defense Ministry said that the ammunition on board the cruiser had “detonated,” as a result of which a fire broke out. Russian authorities conceal information about the number of sailors who died when the Moskva sank, including conscripts.