Breaking the Black Sea Blockade

Comment is Freed – Sir Lawrence Freedman writes that “There is, however, another aspect to this war which has received insufficient attention, though it is now slowly coming into focus and where pressure could build for a NATO operation. This is the need to relieve the blockade Russia has successfully inflicted on Ukraine’s southern ports in the Black Sea. This is urgent not only because of the effect on Ukraine’s battered economy but also on supplies of essential agricultural products to the rest of the world. If Russian forces continue to be pushed back, and as the diplomacy to bring the war to a conclusion is stepped up, this will be a critical issue to be addressed, possibly linked to Russian demands for relief from sanctions. If this is not addressed diplomatically then there could be demands on the major maritime powers to mount freedom of navigation operations to break the blockade.”

“Great Regional Engagement” Rather than “Great Sea Power”—Russia’s New Supply Point on the Red Sea Coast

US Naval War College Review – The Russian naval presence in the western Indian Ocean and recent acquisition of a naval base on the shores of the Red Sea do not reflect an oceanic ambition in the region but rather a primary motivation that is land-centric and littoral: to gain access to the African continent and maintain close relations with partners in the region.

The Russo-Ukranian War at Sea: Retrospect and Prospect

War on the Rocks – When examining the maritime elements of the war, three points of analysis are worth consideration: first, the nature of conflict at sea and its existence out of sight of land and in a different domain which confounds our understanding; second, how the Russian navy pursued the basic elements of naval strategy reflects their continued relevance in this century; and third, the ways in which Ukraine has adapted to the conflict, and how it might make future adjustments, requires understanding of the naval past and creative thinking about the naval future.

Reconsidering Russian Maritime Warfare

CIMSEC – How might Russian maritime forces be brought to bear against the United States and its allies? This question is particularly critical as fears of inadvertent escalation in Ukraine increase. Understanding the answer requires a close reading of what Russian military theorists themselves write about warfare, matched with an examination of maritime geography; combat power; and intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting (ISR-T). Constraints in all of these areas mean that rather than solely seeking out targets at sea for a series of navy-on-navy fights, Russian maritime forces are likely to be more effective at operations that focus on striking “critical objects” on land rather than ship-to-ship combat at sea.

Extended Russian Ukraine Invasion has Stranded Merchant Mariners, Crippled Wheat Production

USNI News – Nearly six weeks into the war in Ukraine, merchant ships in the Black Sea have become stranded, halting the import and export of vital commodities, a situation that could have wide-ranging impacts on the global economy. With the Black Sea blockaded by Russia and Ukraine placing mines around its ports, merchant ships can neither come nor go, leaving the mariners aboard stuck in a war zone.