Satellite images show that Russia is upgrading its Black Sea Fleet naval base

Stringer/AFP via Getty Images

Russia is strengthening the defenses of its Black Sea Fleet naval base in Novorossiysk, the British Ministry of Defense said.

"The infrastructure for maintenance, logistics and arms handling in Novorossiysk is very likely improved," the ministry wrote in a post on the "X" network, referring to a satellite photo it has, reports "Business Insider".

The UK Ministry of Defense noted in its update that the Black Sea Fleet had "largely withdrawn its ships and submarines from Sevastopol eastwards to Novorossiysk".

Russia has withdrawn its ships to try to protect what remains of its damaged Black Sea fleet, Britain's Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

Basing the fleet in Novorossiysk, the ministry said, is the fleet's "best method for avoiding Ukrainian attacks by sea."

Russian naval forces have suffered significant losses since the start of the war in Ukraine in February 2022.

In February, the head of the United Kingdom's armed forces, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, estimated that 25% of Russian ships in the Black Sea had been sunk or damaged.

Ukraine's success in naval warfare also resulted in the replacement of the former commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Viktor Sokolov, with Vice Admiral Sergei Pinchuk.

"The fleet is the least active since the start of the war," the British Ministry of Defense said.

The focus on the Black Sea, by both the Russians and the Ukrainians, underscores the importance of the maritime trade route.

For Ukraine, access to the Black Sea is crucial for the country's grain and food exports.

This is not the first time that the Russians have tried to strengthen their naval defenses to prevent future Ukrainian attacks.

Last month, the British Ministry of Defense said it had “identified four ships positioned at the entrance to the Novorossiysk seaport.

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