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UK intelligence explains why Russia needs separate Black Sea Fleet unit in Azov Sea

Friday, 7 July 2023, 10:12

The UK Ministry of Defence has analysed why the Russian army formed the Azov Naval District with its headquarters in Mariupol. 

Source: UK MoD Defence Intelligence review of the war in Ukraine on 7 July, as reported by European Pravda.

UK analysts recalled that on 1 July 2023, the Russian Navy created a new Azov Naval District with its headquarters in the occupied Ukrainian port of Mariupol. 

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Under the Black Sea Fleet (BSF), the district will reportedly have eight warships at its disposal, including three modern Karakurt-class corvettes that have the capability to launch SS-N-30A Kalibr cruise missiles. 

The Sea of Azov is an extremely important maritime area for Russia, as it connects its inland waterways to international shipping lanes, the UK MoD said. In times of war, it also offers an alternative option for military supplies if Russia's land routes to Ukraine’s south are blocked. 

According to UK analysts, the Azov Naval District is likely to focus on supporting logistical and counter-insurgency tasks, thus releasing the main Black Sea Fleet to focus on long-range strike operations and extending its naval power further abroad. 

The day before, UK intelligence reported that Russia had pulled together military formations from across the country to deter a counter-offensive by the Ukrainian Defence Forces. 

The UK Ministry of Defence also stated that Russia had improved its tactics to slow down the armoured counter-offensive operations of the Ukrainian Defence Forces in the south.

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