Live updates: Russia advances in Ukraine as Navalny’s family demand answers


A member of Ukraine’s coast guard mans a gun on a patrol boat as a cargo ship passes by in the Black Sea on February 7. Thomas Peter/Reuters

Ukrainians have had little to celebrate as the second anniversary of the Russian invasion looms, but continuing successes in the Black Sea are one surprising bright spot.

Last week, Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence announced it had attacked and destroyed a large landing ship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet – the Caesar Kunikov – with maritime drones off the coast of Crimea. 

Ukraine has virtually no navy of its own, but technological innovation, audacity and Russian incompetence have given it the upper hand in much of the Black Sea.

It has now destroyed or disabled more than 20 Russian naval ships in the region, a third of Russia’s total Black Sea fleet.

That has secured a maritime corridor that allows Ukraine to export much of its grain and other produce from ports such as Odesa – an economic boon at a time when the economy has been battered by the conflict.

Remember: In July last year, Russia quit the UN-brokered Black Sea Initiative, which had allowed Ukraine safe passage to ship 31.5 million tons of grain and other food products from its ports to world markets. The deal had lasted just under a year.

Rather than fold, the Ukrainians declared a unilateral “Black Sea Humanitarian Corridor” for merchant shipping and stepped up its use of maritime drones and missile attacks against Russia’s Black Sea fleet. The corridor hugs the Ukrainian coast before reaching the waters of two NATO states, Romania and Bulgaria.

Read more about the flashpoints in the Black Sea here.


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