Attacks on Black Sea Fleet facilities in recent weeks, including those on its headquarters on September 20 and 22, have been the most destructive and coordinated of the war. This was reported by the British Ministry of Defense in its daily intelligence report.
In London, the damage is said to be significant. The fleet will probably still be able to perform basic military tasks, including cruise missile strikes. However, it has lost the ability to conduct large-scale patrols and maintain the blockade of Ukrainian ports, the ministry said in a statement on Twitter.
On Monday, September 25, Ukraine's Special Operations Forces (SOF) announced that a strike on the Black Sea Fleet headquarters had killed its commander, Vice Admiral Viktor Sokolov. According to them, 34 officers were killed along with Sokolov, and another 150 people were wounded. The headquarters building itself is beyond repair.
Russian ships continued to strike Ukraine after Sokolov's possible death, but these attacks were carried out "by inertia." This was stated by a representative of the Ukrainian Navy, Dmytro Pletenchuk, who compared the actions of the Russian fleet to "a chicken running around without a head."
"This is a large grouping that requires a large number of leaders to make all processes work as a single mechanism. Imagine that the core of this mechanism becomes inoperable," Pletenchuk explained.
He noted that from the very beginning, Russia had a rather limited potential for using ships. He emphasized that Russian ships are used mainly as carriers of missiles or long-range weapons and less than 10 units are in combat readiness. All the other ships were not able to fully perform their functions even before the attacks by the Ukrainian armed forces, he said.
Currently, there is only one missile carrier in the Black Sea, which turned out to be empty, and only five Russian vessels, the navy spokesman added.
In addition, there is a decrease in the activity of the coast guard and a decrease in the number of ships, which is likely due to the depletion of supplies or relocation to permanent deployment points. The process of restoring and reorganizing the Black Sea Fleet may take some time, he said.