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A Sober Analysis of Ukrainian Success in the Black Sea (Thord Are Iversen)

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Former Royal Norwegian Navy Officer Thord Are Iversen recently visited CIMSEC's 'Sea Control' podcast to discuss the intricacies of the Ukraine/Russia battle for the Black Sea.

Having chronicled the conflict since its early stages in 2021, Iversen brings a wealth of experience and insights into 20th-century defense and security policies. His journey through the Russian buildup, invasion, and subsequent naval war in Europe informs his view on the matter.

Iversen identified distinct phases in the maritime conflict, outlining the Ukrainian efforts and the Russian response. Iverson pointed out the danger of underestimating the Black Sea fleet and Ukraine's challenges at sea.

He believes that assessments have often been short-sighted, leading to inflated expectations of Ukraine's capabilities and resource requirements.


Metis Insights: Black Sea Grain Initiative


Moreover, Iversen discussed the significance of basing, especially regarding Kilo-class submarines. He emphasized that the shift in Russian basing of submarines from Sevastopol to other locations doesn't significantly impact their mission capabilities. Iversen cautioned against overestimating the impact of single strikes or events, highlighting the vulnerability of Ukrainian success in maritime traffic, which remains subject to Russian interference and covert actions.

Addressing the resumption of commercial shipping, particularly the Grain Deal and grain transport in the Black Sea, Iversen observed some positive developments but cautioned that success hinges on sustained and increased traffic. He highlighted the vulnerabilities in this traffic due to potential incidents or deliberate Russian actions.

In conclusion, Iversen urged listeners to critically analyze media reports, warning against prematurely drawn conclusions and the tendency to overlook certain aspects, such as the role of the Russian Coast Guard in the Black Sea conflict. He emphasized that, while Ukraine has achieved significant strides, victory remains uncertain in this protracted naval war.

Source: CIMSEC