Update (1625 EST): Ukrainian Presidential Adviser Arestovych has announced that all six cruise missile capable ships of the Black Sea Fleet have left port and are “lined up” in the Black Sea. He is expecting a massive strike against targets in Odessa in the coming days and is urging civilians to heed air attack sirens.
Open source intelligence analysts from Covert Shores as well as pro-Russian Telegram users have reported a large deployment of Russian Black Sea Fleet surface vessels from various ports throughout Crimea. The imagery above is about 12 hours old but shows a flurry of activity from landing ships, grain ships (carrying confiscated Ukrainian foodstuffs plundered by Russian forces), and FSB Rubin Class boats of which six are assigned to the Black Sea Fleet. Although no large surface combatants were captured in this processed imagery, Russian telegram pages reported this:
“The Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy in full force left the ports and headed towards Odessa
According to “Come and See”, Russian ships with full ammunition have lined up in battle formations and are heading towards Odessa. Apparently, a decision was made on the final liquidation of the remnants of the Ukrainian fleet.
At the same time, according to the radio broadcast, the Armed Forces of Ukraine put the coastal forces on alert. At the moment, 14 missile strikes have been confirmed in the Odessa region, the destruction of warehouses and logistics hubs in Ochakov, Odessa and Belgorod-Dnestrovsky.
Earlier, the Armed Forces of Ukraine launched a missile attack on the Russian drilling platforms of Chornomorneftegaz. And it was a big mistake.”
It is true that Ukrainian missile strikes against a Russian oil rig, which we covered earlier today, did result in retaliatory strikes against Odessa, about 5 missiles in all, of which one was intercepted. At least two of the missiles fell in the Bilhorod- Dnistrovyski district of Odessa, apparently striking a warehouse.
The growing stockpile and promises to supply Ukraine with anti-ship missiles from Western nations may force Russian planners to take greater action against Ukraines largest remaining port city. While it is highly unlikely the Russian Federation would attempt to carry Odessa solely by amphibious assault, Black Sea Fleet activity of this magnitude is worth watching.