Peter Dickinson: Ukraine will win battle for Black Sea

November 9,2023 549
Peter Dickinson: Ukraine will win battle for Black Sea

Ukraine is gradually winning the battle for the Black Sea, believes the UK journalist Peter Dickinson, Atlantic Council researcher, and publisher of Business Ukraine and Lviv Today magazines.

“Indeed, even though attention is currently focused on the virtually stationary front line of the conflict in the south and east of Ukraine, there are more and more signs that Ukraine is winning the battle for the Black Sea,” Dickinson writes in a column for NV.

The war at sea began a few days before the full-scale invasion of Russia. Then, in mid-February 2022, Russian warships established a naval blockade of the Black Sea ports of Ukraine.

“At first, this sea confrontation seemed to be decided in advance. With no navy, Ukraine would seem to have no chance of challenging Russian dominance of the Black Sea. However, it soon became clear that such conclusions are premature,” Dickinson continues.

Ukraine launched the first serious attack at sea last year in April. The Ukrainians sank Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

“The symbolism of this strike was particularly strong because the Moskva is the same ship that attacked Zmiinyi (Snake) Island on the first day of the war and was told in which direction to go,” Dickinson says.

Later, Ukraine liberated Zmiinyi (Snake) Island. And last summer, Kyiv launched the first strikes against Russian naval facilities in the occupied Crimea, including attacks on the base port of the Russian Black Sea Fleet – Sevastopol, the journalist reminds.

“The battle for the Black Sea has sharply intensified in recent months. Ukraine is using a combination of missile strikes and drone strikes, as well as raids by special forces, to disrupt Russian naval operations, as well as disrupt logistics hubs at several points in occupied Crimea, which are critical for supplying the Russian army in southern Ukraine,” Dickinson says.

Ukraine’s success at sea is a reminder that, despite widespread talk of a stalemate, the Russian-Ukrainian war remains extremely dynamic. In addition, the battle for the Black Sea provides important lessons for Ukraine’s international partners. It demonstrates the effectiveness of Western weapons against the Russian defense and at the same time emphasizes the ability of the Ukrainian military with a high level of competence and professionalism to use increasingly sophisticated weapons systems, including French and British cruise missiles, the journalist believes.

“The Battle for the Black Sea proved that Ukrainian courage and Western weapons are a winning combination. This should prompt Western leaders to stop hesitating and finally provide Ukraine with the means necessary to win the war,” Dickinson says.