Now, the mainstream media is making it appear that Ukrainian missile and drone attacks are challenging Moscow's hold of the peninsula, which the Russians seized in 2014. According to the Wall Street Journal, (WSJ) Western officials and satellite images verified by naval experts revealed that Russia has moved powerful vessels, including three attack submarines and two frigates, from Sevastopol to other ports in Russia and Crimea that offer better protection. (Related: Russian killer drones being used in Ukraine found to contain Western electrical components.)
According to the outlet, this move represented a remarkable setback for Putin, whose military seizure of Crimea in 2014 marked the opening shots in his attempt to take control of Ukraine. WSJ's Thomas Grove and Jared Malsin commented that the Russian president's full-scale invasion last year is starting to "boomerang." They noted that the pull-out of vessels happened after a series of strikes by Ukraine that severely damaged Russian vessels and the fleet's headquarters.
It was also reported that the strikes have already broken the fleet's blockade of Ukrainian ports, denying Russian access to parts of the Black Sea and opening a new corridor for Ukraine to dispatch economically vital grain shipments.
According to Mikhail Barabanov, a senior analyst at the Moscow-based defense think tank Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, satellite images dated Oct. 1 and provided by Planet Labs showed that the bulk of the naval vessels were moved to Novorossiysk, a Russian port on the Black Sea. The craft included all three of its operational Kilo-class attack submarines, two guided-missile frigates and one patrol ship. Other vessels, including a large landing ship, a number of small missile ships and new minesweepers, were moved to the port of Feodosiya, farther east along the Crimean Peninsula, Barabanov added.
Ukraine has targeted Crimea in recent weeks with cruise missiles that seriously damaged a Russian submarine and a large landing vessel, as well as the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet. Analysts say those strikes likely used cruise missiles provided by the U.K. and France, which have placed restrictions on their use, meaning they can't hit Novorossiysk.
"The main factor in the decision is that the West until now has forbidden Ukraine from using Western weaponry for strikes within the 2014 borders of the Russian Federation," said Barabanov. Ukraine successfully struck Novorossiysk using its own locally-produced naval drones earlier this year.
The crucial yet quiet pull-out of Russia's major portion of its Black Sea Fleet from its main base in Crimea raised suspicions of a counterattack. True enough, the United Kingdom recently found that Moscow could be planning to attack civilian ships in the regions with sea mines, citing a declassified intelligence document. The attacks may have disrupted the Russian fleet's blockade of Ukrainian ports but the U.K. government suggested that Ukraine could be blamed for the attacks on neutral vessels.
Last month, U.K. officials revealed that Russian forces had targeted a civilian cargo ship in the region with "multiple missiles" but air defenses successfully intercepted them. According to declassified intelligence, there was a risk of attack on cargo ships traveling through Ukraine's "humanitarian corridor" to deter Ukrainian grain exports.
"Russia's pernicious targeting of civilian shipping in the Black Sea demonstrates Putin's total disregard for civilian lives and the needs of the world's most vulnerable," said Britain's Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. "The world is watching and we see right through Russia's cynical attempts to lay blame on Ukraine for their attacks."
Cleverly’s department said "the U.K. seeks to expose Russia's tactics to deter any such incident from occurring."
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Watch the video below that talks about how Kyiv is paying tenfold for its strikes in Crimea.
This video is from The Prisoner channel on Brighteon.com.