Fighting in Black Sea gives Ukraine hope for success
While Ukraine has paused its attacks on land, the conflict at sea is providing a glimmer of hope. Drones and missiles are helping Ukraine keep the Russian fleet at bay, and trade is resuming at Odesa's ports
The Guardian writes about it.
This summer, Russia ended a one-year agreement that allowed Ukraine to export grain worldwide. Since then, Ukrainian ports along the entire Black Sea coast have been heavily damaged by Russian attacks, with 13 major assaults, mostly occurring at night.
“Nineteen months after the full-scale invasion, Vladimir Putin’s war strategy is starkly visible. The concept – if you can call it that – is to bomb Ukraine into submission,” the article reads.
“Putin’s cynical calculus is that the west will eventually tire of a war with no end in sight. He is waiting for January 2025 and the return of Donald Trump as US president. That, Moscow thinks, would mean a swift end to White House military assistance to Kyiv. Russia’s geopolitical goals are unchanged: to eradicate Ukraine – its government, culture and language – and to transform it into a loyal Russian province,” states the Guardian.
Nevertheless, amidst this devastating conflict, some positive signs are emerging. Ukraine's ground offensive, aimed at retaking the southern part of the country and dividing the occupying Russian forces, is progressing slowly. This is a challenging and costly endeavor, with Ukrainian brigades, equipped with Western tanks, facing difficulties advancing through minefields and fortified Russian positions.
However, there have been notable successes in the Black Sea region. Drones and missiles supplied by the UK have successfully targeted sites in Crimea, including air defense installations, a shipyard, and the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters. Recently, satellite images revealed that Moscow's formidable fleet had left Sevastopol, a deep-sea port, and moved east to the safer Russian port of Novorossiysk.
Meanwhile, merchant ships have resumed their activities. Deputy Minister of Seaports and Maritime Affairs of Ukraine, Yuriy Vaskov, reported that over 30 ships have arrived at or departed from Odesa and neighboring ports such as Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi. These ships are transporting various goods, including grain, sunflower oil, and metals, including a shipment of iron ore.
The one-way "humanitarian" grain corridor established by Ukraine appears to be functioning well so far. Under an old agreement facilitated by the UN and Turkey, Russia used to inspect containers passing through the Black Sea, causing delays. Now, ships can move freely along a route that passes through Ukrainian territorial waters and continues past NATO members Romania and Bulgaria.