Satellite images confirm many Russian military ships have left Crimea base for Russia
OSINT analyst MT Anderson published satellite imagery from October 1, showing that a significant number of the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s ships have been moved from annexed Sevastopol to Novorossiysk in Russia’s Krasnodar Krai.
The analyst says that Project 11356 Admiral Essen and Admiral Makarov frigates, three diesel submarines, five large landing ships, and several small missile ships are now in Novorossiysk.
Satellite images from October 2 showed one large landing ship, minesweepers, and small missile ships in Feodosia in annexed Crimea.
Four large Project 775 landing ships (Ropucha class, according to NATO classification) and a Kilo-class submarine remain in Sevastopol itself, judging by the October 2 images.
On its Telegram channel, CAST wrote that the Black Sea Fleet has “yet again in its history made the traditional maneuver” from Sevastopol to Novorossiysk. The Bell states that this is “an obvious allusion to the actions of the Soviet fleet during the defense of Sevastopol in 1941-1942, if not to the scuttling of ships in Tsemes Bay near Novorossiysk in 1918.”
According to former Norwegian officer and OSINT analyst Thord Are Iversen, while the withdrawal of ships comes as an echo of the attacks on Sevastopol, that doesn't mean the fleet is completely gone. “There has been an ebb and flow from Sevastopol to other bases the whole war, especially after Ukrainian attacks, but then the deployments tend to return to normal patterns,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
Strikes on Russian Black Sea Fleet facilities and the threat of ATACMS (long-range missiles), which Ukraine may soon receive, forced Russian military commanders to relocate the ships away from the front line. ATACMS, like Storm Shadow missiles, strike based on target coordinates, but their quick aim allows them to attack mobile targets. Air-launched cruise missiles are not suitable for mobile targets like ships (unless they’re docked) because the attack coordinates must be set on the ground before the carrier aircraft takes off, and the entire process, from setting the target to the strike itself, takes tens of minutes, if not hours. ATACMS require only minutes between target-setting and launch.