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The new failure of Russia in the Black Sea once again calls into question the capacity of its Navy

Russian naval officers take part in a graduation ceremony in Vladivostok.

Few nations show greater pride in their Navy than Russia. Few nations have in their founding DNA the naval component so integrated like this country where generations and generations grew up hearing stories of the Potemkin, from the Aurora or from the Movska. Vladivostok, Saint Petersburg, Sevastopol… the Russian port cities have been and are the pride of its citizens and it is no coincidence that the great battle of this war against Ukraine was fought precisely in Mariupol or that the first targets of the Russian army were the ports of Kherson and Melitopol. They only lacked the mythical Odessa.

Russia attaches so much importance to its warships that one of the conditions for “allowing” the separation of Ukraine from the Soviet Union in 1991 and the subsequent creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States in 1992, already with Yeltsin as president, was that the Navy deployed in the Black Sea will remain largely in Russian hands. Yeltsin did not mind “giving away” Crimea, as long as on the ships that remained in Sevastopol he waved his flag.

This is a confrontation between a country with a powerful and careful Navy… and a country that practically does not have a warship. However, surprising as it may seem, the Russians have already had two huge upsets at seaproof that its problems are not limited to advances by land, but also affect the sea… and, as we will see, in the air.

Russian naval officers take part in a graduation ceremony in Vladivostok.

Reuters

[Del Acorazado Potemkin al Moskva… cuando un barco ruso se hunde, se hiere el corazón de Rusia]

The Movska Disaster

The first great Russian nonsense in this war was the sinking of the Movska. Until then, good or bad, Russia had imposed its superiority and the idea prevailed that the war was getting a bit more complicated, yes, but the difference between the two armies was still abysmal. Suddenly, on April 14, rumors began to spread of a possible Neptune missile attack to the flagship of the Russian Navy in the Black Sea. The news seemed impossible to believe, the david taking down goliath update. However, it was true.

Neither the withdrawal from the outskirts of kyiv nor the failure to conquer Kharkov nor the problems in advancing through Donbas despite having tens of thousands of men in combat have had the media and social repercussion that that resounding failure had. Two and a half months later, we have just experienced a very similar episode. Not so embarrassing, but mediatically impressive and very important in terms of morale, propaganda and war effort.

After weeks bombing the call snake island (little more than an islet located southwest of Odessa), the Ukrainian army last Wednesday managed to get the Russian invaders to leave the territory and flee, leaving it on fire and turned into a kind of “no man’s land”. The importance of the island itself is limited: yes, may complicate the maritime blockade on Ukraine, but minimally. Another thing is what this withdrawal -disguised as an “act of good faith” by the Russian authorities- demonstrates:a The Russian Navy is neither there nor is it expected… and neither is aviation.

[“Buque ruso, a la mierda”: las últimas palabras de los 13 héroes de Ucrania en la batalla de isla Serpientes]

explain the unexplainable

One of the first bravado launched from the Kremlin in those first seventy-two hours of trying to “Blitzkrieg” in the four corners of the Ukraine was that “Ukrainian aircraft had been completely disabled”. Thank goodness. The fact that the planes sent from Odessa could happily bomb the island until causing unconditional surrender completely refutes a statement that, as already we had seen on the various fronts, it was nothing but cheap propaganda. a significant number of operational aircraftbut what is serious for Russia is not that, but that it can use them almost at will.

How is it possible that the ships that surrounded the Snake Island did not have enough anti-aircraft batteries to prevent the attacks? How is it possible that Russian aviation, so superior in number, could not face the Ukrainian in combat, dissuading her from further attacking the islet? Moscow now puts on the face of “deep down, we are not interested in that boulder at all”, but if something does not interest you, you do not occupy it… and of course you don’t spend more than a month defending it until you have to run away.

Snake Island, Ukraine.

Snake Island, Ukraine.

The curious thing, we insist, is the very low level of the enemy they face. The Russian Navy is not suffering from the Japanese, as in 1905, nor from the Turkish and British, as in 1856. He is suffering before a country that has no ships and that you cannot ask for them. The West keeps sending weapons for ground combat, including fighters and bombers, but obviously it can’t send a ship. If he could, in fact, he would have done so a long time ago to break the aforementioned Russian blockade that can cause so many problems to the world.

The famine that is coming

Because the fact is that the only strategic importance, as we said before, of losing the enclave of the Snake Island It is the hole that opens in the area for the entry or exit of ships one of the few Ukrainian ports still under local control. It is a very relative importance, because we are talking about a very small gap. However, Ukraine is surely already seeing how to continue harassing Russian ships and how to break this mercantile blockade that threatens to sink its economy… and to provoke a famine in half the planet if the stored tons of wheat and other food cannot leave the Ukrainian ports.

[El poderío aéreo de EEUU y Rusia en Ucrania, frente a frente: cazas, aviones espía y bombarderos]

Another thing is the moral importance. The Russian is an army condemned to play “away from home” with all that that implies. It is not the same to resist for your country and your family as it is to invade in the name of unclear nationalist theories. Sacrifices are not assumed in the same way. If bad news is added to those sacrifices from the only front where one does not expect it, the blow is hard. A blow, furthermore, that affects both ways: if we have sunk the Movska, if we have recovered the island, will the Ukrainians think?how can we not try to liberate Kherson?, how can we not leave our lives in Sloviansk?

As to the island itself, there it is, uninhabited. It makes no sense for the Ukrainians to take it, because history would repeat itself, but in reverse: they would be the ones bombed and the ones condemned to flee. That said, a no man’s land right in front of the Odessa border with Transnistria. One less threat also for southern Ukraine, which continues to grow with these operations. The mute reminder on the map that Russian pride is a thing of the past. The present paints in a very different way.

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Written by Editor TLN

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