Media reports that Ukraine used a drone to attack an oil terminal near a Russian naval base on the Black Sea could turn out to be a turning point in the nine-month-long war, British military officials said.
Russian and Ukrainian media outlets reported Friday that an attack took place in the port city of Novorossiysk on Russia’s Black Sea coast. A major naval base of the Kremlin’s Black Sea Fleet (BSF) is near the oil terminal, British military intelligence officials said.
“The BSF relocated many of its submarine operations to Novorossiysk after its Sevastopol base in occupied Crimea was struck by Ukraine over the summer,” the British Defense Ministry tweeted Tuesday.
Russian commanders are likely to be concerned about threats to Russia’s amphibious landing ship flotilla located at the naval base.
“These vessels are relatively vulnerable without escorts and have assumed a more important role in supplying Russian forces in Ukraine since the Kerch Bridge was damaged in October,” according to the UK’s Defense Ministry.
Further demonstrations of Ukraine’s capability to threaten Novorssiysk would likely represent a further strategic challenge for the BSF. They also would further undermine Moscow’s already reduced maritime influence in the Black Sea, British officials said.