Japan Spotted Loaded-Up Russian Amphibious Warships That May Be Headed To Ukraine

War Zone – According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense, four heavily laden Russian amphibious warships recently sailed by the country’s Home Islands and were heading west. The idea here is that they may be headed to Europe to bolster Russia’s struggling invasion operation in Ukraine. The Japan MoD released an image of one of the ships showing it packed with military vehicles on its deck. 

Two Civilian Vessels Hit By Russian Missiles Off Odessa

Naval News – Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence just reported that two commercial vessels were hit by Russian fire off the port of Odessa in Southern Ukraine. Panama flagged bulk carrier NAMURA QUEEN (IMO: 9841299) was reportedly struck by a missile while Moldova flagged bunker tanker MILLENNIUM SPIRIT was hit by at least one missile as well. Ukraine dispatched its coast guard to conduct search and rescue (SAR) operations.

Ukraine on High Alert as Russian Naval Exercise Threatens to Block Parts of the Black Sea

USNI News – An upcoming Russian naval exercise has Ukraine worried, as the United States predicts a Russian invasion of the country could come any day. The Russian exercise, which comes during continued tension between Russian and Ukraine, will block parts of the Black Sea, the Sea of Azoz and the Kerch Strait, leading the Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs to put out a statement in protest.

Gators in Motion: Demystifying Recent Russian Amphibious Activity

CIMSEC – At the time of publishing on 10 February the Baltic and Northern Fleet amphibious forces have arrived in the Black Sea. However, these forces would only augment existing Black Sea Fleet capability and so should not be used as an indicator of Russian readiness for offensive action. On the other hand, these amphibious forces are unlikely to be a feint; the Russians have demonstrated the capability to land battalion-scale forces in the region, and such a landing fits into their theory and practice.

It Looks Like Russia Wants To All But Wall Off Ukraine’s Coastlines Next Week

War Zone – The Russian government has reportedly issued notices warning mariners and aviators to avoid significant portions of the northern end of the Black Sea, as well as the adjacent Sea of Azov, next week ostensibly due to upcoming live-fire naval exercises. The obvious concern is that this could amount to a de facto blockade of Ukraine’s southern coastlines, which in turn might be part of preparations for new large-scale Russian military intervention into that country.

Flotilla Of Russian Landing Ships Is Now In Syria Weeks After Deploying From The Baltic Sea

War Zone – Six Russian Navy amphibious warfare ships that departed the Baltic Sea region in January and entered the Mediterranean Sea last week are now in Syria. The vessels are resupplying at Russia’s naval facility in the Syrian port of Tartus, ostensibly ahead of a large maritime exercise that is set to kick off in the Mediterranean soon. However, there have been persistent discussions about whether these ships might be moving into a place where they could relatively quickly redeploy into the Black Sea to support a potential new Russian military incursion into Ukraine, and they are certainly better positioned for such a contingency now.