Russia Appoints New Black Sea Fleet Commander Amid Ukrainian Attacks

Tue Apr 02 2024
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MOSCOW: Russia on Tuesday appointed a new head of its troubled Black Sea Fleet following a spate of Ukrainian drone attacks on its military ships.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that President Vladimir Putin had issued a decree appointing Vice-Admiral Sergei Pinchuk as the new commander of the Black Sea Fleet. This decision comes amidst a broader restructuring of Russia’s navy, which includes the appointment of Admiral Alexander Moiseyev as the new overall commander-in-chief.

In a video message published by the defence ministry, Shoigu conveyed both congratulations and a stern reminder of the immense responsibility that lies ahead for the new fleet chiefs. The shake-up follows reports from Russian military bloggers, suggesting the ousting of the previous commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Viktor Sokolov, in light of the recent spate of attacks on Russian ships.

Pinchuk, a seasoned navy officer with a career spanning decades, hails from Sevastopol, the historic home of the Black Sea Fleet situated on the Crimean peninsula. His appointment underscores Moscow’s strategic focus on fortifying its maritime defenses in the face of increasing Ukrainian aggression in the region.

Recent satellite imagery indicates that Russia has relocated several ships to a base in Novorossiysk, aiming to enhance their protection against further attacks from Ukrainian forces. The move comes in response to the latest strike on March 24, where Ukraine claimed to have targeted two large landing ships and a communications center in Sevastopol through a missile strike.

Ukraine’s use of naval drones, equipped with explosives, in nighttime attacks on Russian ships in the Black Sea has posed a significant challenge to Moscow’s maritime operations.

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