Logistics: The Black Sea Blockade


March 23, 2024: Russia can no longer use the Black Sea at all. Between 2022 and 2023 Ukrainian USVs (Unmanned Sea Vessel) missiles and GPS guided glide bombs destroyed about half the Russian Black Sea Fleet and drove the remaining warships to distant, up to a thousand kilometers, ports in the eastern Black Sea.

The worst aspect of this is that Russia can no longer use the Black Sea for commerce or moving supplies to Russian forces in areas near the Black Sea coast. At the same time, foreign and Ukrainian ships can freely use Ukrainian ports, like Odessa, for deliveries and taking cargoes of grain and other products to export markets. Russia apparently can do nothing about this situation, except fire the admiral in charge of Black Sea security for Russian commercial shipping as well as the senior admiral commanding the Russian Navy.

The threat from Ukrainian USVs, UAVs, GPS guided glide bombs and cruise and ballistic missiles was more than the Russians could handle. Most of the transportation of weapons and other military supplies to Russian forces in the Black Sea region were carried by two ships, the freighter Sparta-IV and the tanker Yaz. As the threat from Ukrainian attack increased, the Sparta-IV and Yaz stopped using the Black Sea and instead went to safer Russian ports in the Baltic Sea, where their cargo would be unloaded and moved to Russian troops via roads and railroads. This adds weeks to delivery time for supplies needed by Russian troops in Ukraine.

There are also 69 other Russian cargo ships on the sanctions list. These ships carry commercial cargoes and no longer enter the Black Sea because of the risk of encountering Ukrainian USVs and other weapons. More weapons from NATO nations are on the way for Ukraine to use against Russian forces in Ukraine as well as Russian use of the Black Sea for commercial shipping. Russia has not yet come up with a solution but is working on several options that are kept secret until put into action. Meanwhile Russia has to use the longer route from the Baltic Sea to Ukraine.




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