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Ukraine deserves major praise for maritime wins, beating back Russia along Black Sea

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Ukraine's 2023 counteroffensive has stirred varied reactions in the West, with many focusing on land victories- overlooking significant maritime successes. 

Amidst military endeavors, Ukraine's remarkable maritime achievements in piercing Russia's Black Sea blockade and compelling the Russian navy into retreat stand as a testament to the restoration of deterrence.

The Ministry of Infrastructure revealed that over 130 vessels have departed Ukrainian ports, exporting more than 5 million tons of goods since August, undermining Vladimir Putin's efforts to manipulate the global food supply.

Despite Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative and attempts to re-establish a grain corridor, Ukraine, unaccompanied by UN or NATO naval escort, broke the blockade. Collaborating with British insurers, the government has aimed to safeguard exporters' losses in the event of an attack, signaling a proactive stance.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal's recent announcement of a special mechanism with London to reduce war insurance costs for Ukrainian exporters signifies a significant leap in countering Russia's Black Sea fleet's earlier presumed domination.


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The shift in the Black Sea dynamics, a major stride in Ukraine's counteroffensive, forces Russia to reconsider its naval strategies. Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to President Zelensky, highlighted the primary goal: to diminish Russia's naval supremacy, emphasizing the historic strides achieved in restricting the Russian military fleet's operations in the western Black Sea.

The stark contrast between Russia's formidable naval prowess and Ukraine's limited naval capacity accentuates the significance of these gains. Former Defense Minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk credits recent advancements to an asymmetric and technologically driven approach, challenging traditional warfare doctrines.

Utilizing missiles and drones, Ukraine's strategic attacks against the Russian navy, including the development of kamikaze sea drones, have proven effective, inflicting substantial damage on Russian vessels. Multiple strikes in key areas like Sevastopol and Kerch have forced Russia's retreat, prompting the relocation of its Black Sea fleet vessels.

Despite Russia's possession of long-range missiles posing a threat to Ukraine's southwestern regions, Ukraine's counteroffensive has disrupted Russia's ability to operate in the Black Sea with impunity, limiting its intervention in the crucial grain corridor.

As Ukraine continues to assert its presence and erode Russia's naval dominance, experts acknowledge the gradual but significant dent made in Russia's Black Sea operations. This could indicate a shift in the regional maritime power dynamics.

Source: New York Post