In the Black Sea, Kiev claimed a fleet of 17 Moscow ships and submarines. Norwegian intelligence warned of a "very dangerous threat" in early February.

Russian Navy ship firing missile
Russian Navy ship firing missile

Will a potential fresh Russian invasion in Ukraine, predicted by different analysts, including NATO, take place via sea? This is the question that arises after Kiev declared an increase in the number of Russian ships in the Black Sea.

According to information from the Ukrainian Armed Forces Naval Command, there are at least 17 Moscow military vessels on the way, including two submarines and five missile ships armed "with Kalibr cruise missiles, for a total of 32 missiles". During a combined naval drill with China and South Africa, Chinese media reported that Moscow planned to launch a new threat in the Black Sea. There is even discussion of using the Zircon hypersonic missile system, which has so far been rebuffed by Moscow army authorities.

According to Newsweek, the Norwegian intelligence service reported in early February that "a central part of the nuclear capabilities of the Russian navy are found on the submarines and surface ships of the Northern Fleet," and that Russia's tactical nuclear weapons pose a "particularly serious threat" not only to Ukraine, but also to NATO countries. "Furthermore, Russia possesses undersea capabilities, anti-satellite missiles, and IT tools that might attack Norway and NATO," according to the Oslo 007 assessment.

The increasing Russian military presence in the Black Sea might possibly be a reaction to Ukraine's claimed drone strikes on Russia, Belarus, and Crimea. After all, if so far Ukraine, which does not have a high-level navy, has managed to contain the excessive power of Moscow, it was also thanks to the strategic use of drones, as happened on August 20 with an attack on the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, or on October 29, when also in Sevastopol a series of maritime drones targeted Russian warships, forcing the Moscow navy to enter "defense mode".

A fresh Russian naval attack, if it occurs, might jeopardize the deal that has so far enabled the resumption of wheat and other crop imports from Ukraine. A new stoppage of Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea might spark a new surge in food prices, giving Vladimir Putin even another tool to exert pressure on Europe.
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