Kyiv: Russian warships absent from Black Sea following loss of Sergei Kotov

Russian warships have not set sail for combat duty in the Black Sea for five consecutive days following the loss of the patrol corvette Sergei Kotov, according to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU). The General Staff of the AFU reported that, as of Sunday morning, 10 March, there were no Russian Navy ships present in the Black Sea. Ukrainian military sources, however, indicate that three Russian warships are currently in the Mediterranean Sea, and one more is in the Azov Sea.

The day before, the press service of the Southern Defence Forces Command of Ukraine announced that the Russian fleet had not been observed on combat patrol in the Black Sea for four days, and missile carriers have been stationed at their bases for 20 consecutive days.

During a news broadcast, Dmitry Pletenchuk, a representative of the Ukrainian Naval Forces, claimed that the number of Russian ships in the ports of annexed Crimea has been reduced to a minimum, with only those remaining that could not find anchorage space in Novorossiysk, Sochi, and Tuapse. "There (in annexed Crimea), the remaining vessels are not as valuable or useful to them right now," he added.

Pletenchuk previously declared that Ukraine has seized the initiative in the Black Sea. "There is an opportunity to dictate the terms of warfare. We are currently succeeding, but we must continue this effort," noted the Ukrainian Naval Forces representative.

On the night of 5 March, Ukraine's Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence reported the sinking near the Kerch Strait of the Russian Black Sea Fleet patrol ship "Sergei Kotov." According to the department, the ship was damaged by Magura V5 marine drones which sruck its stern and both sides.

  War in Ukraine, Sergei Kotov, Black Sea