Russian Navy Has Degraded Significantly That It Cannot Defend Crimea Anymore: Igor Girkin

Igor Strelkov, who is also known as Igor Girkin, is pictured on July 28, 2014 in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine. He has been critical of Russia's campaign in Ukraine and spoke of a "strategic defeat" there. BULENT KILIC/Getty Images

An ex-Russian officer has said Vladimir Putin’s forces are ‘deteriorating’ in Ukraine as the Crimea was hit by up to 17 drones.

Igor Girkin, an imprisoned Russian nationalist, said Putin’s forces would be “even less capable of offensive operations than they are now” by spring 2024, according to the Institute for the Study of War.

In a letter published by his wife, Girkin claimed that the situation for Russian forces was “gradually deteriorating” and that Russian forces were showcasing “growing weakness compared to Ukraine’s capabilities.”

He added that the Avdiivka offensive, where thousands of troops are said to have died, demonstrated the Russian Army’s inability “to achieve superiority on a very narrow sector of the front”, the ISW said.

It comes as Ukraine launched up to 17 drone attacks on Crimea and the Black Sea, which Russia destroyed and intercepeted, according to the Russian defence ministry.

Nine drones were destroyed by air defence systems and eight were intercepted by electronic warfare, it added. Explosions were heard near the towns of Novofedorivka and Saky, a Russian air base on the peninsula, just after 4am, according to local reports.

Vladimir Putin will soon have to make the “tough choice” of siding with either Iran or Israel as he faces the twin challenge of protecting his regime and continuing with his invasion of Ukraine, an expert said.

Moscow’s continuing war in Ukraine will test its relationship with both Iran and Israel, according to Kimberly Kagan, the president for the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) think-tank.

Ukraine has deployed new Western air defence systems as it braces for a second winter of Russian attacks on its energy grid. President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the deployment of additional Nasams mobile surface-to-air missile launchers.

“I received reports on the receipt of ammunition, hardware and equipment over the past day,” he said on social media

“Additional Nasams systems from partners have been put on combat duty. Timely reinforcement of our air defence before winter.”

List of Russian naval losses

On November 4, the Karakurt-class Askold corvette, which had yet to enter service with the Russian Navy, was struck by an apparent cruise missile. Ukraine later announced the ship’s “destruction.” Russia’s Defense Ministry described it as “damaged.”
Russia’s Minsk, a Ropucha-class landing craft, cruises off the coast of St. Petersburg in July 2021. In September 2023, several missiles struck a shipyard in the Sevastopol naval base in Russian-occupied Crimea. According to Britain’s Defense Ministry, the Minsk was almost certainly “functionally destroyed” in the strike. Photos of the aftermath showed the ship smoldering and severely damaged.
The Rostov-on-Don, which was launched in 2014, was also struck in the September 2023 strike on the Sevastopol naval base. The sub was severely damaged and will either be out of service for an extended period or scrapped. The sub was filmed in December 2015 firing a barrage of Kalibr cruise missiles at what the Russian military described as Islamic State targets in Syria.
The Ropucha-class Olenegorsky Gornyak landing craft on St. Petersburg’s Neva River in July 2021. In August 2023, videos released show a marine drone impacting the landing craft in the Russian port of Novorossiisk. The ship suffered “severe damage” in the attack, according to the British Defense Ministry, and videos later emerged showing the vessel listing heavily under tow The Polish-made vessel is from the same Ropucha class as the Minsk that was apparently destroyed in September.
A Serna-class landing craft carries an infantry fighting vehicle along the Volga River in July 2015. A Serna was hit with a missile fired from a Bayraktar drone while docking on Snake Island in May 2022. Serna landing craft are made to carry armored vehicles into “over-the-beach” assault landings and transport cargo. The block-shaped vessels use a unique “air-cavity” design that pumps air under the ship’s hull to reduce drag.
The Moskva guided-missile cruiser sails in the Caspian Sea in 2012. The Russian flagship was famously sunk in April 2022 off the Ukrainian coast, south of Odesa. Ukraine claims the ship sank after being struck by two domestically produced Neptune anti-ship missiles. Russia said the Moskva foundered after an unspecified “fire,” which detonated ammunition on board. It was the largest Russian warship to be sunk since World War II. The cruiser carried some 500 sailors and wielded a formidable array of weapons, including 16 large cruise missiles.
The Tapir-class Saratov landing ship takes part in an amphibious-landing exercise on a beach in Crimea in October 2021. In March 2022, the Saratov was hit by a Tochka-U ballistic missile and sunk in the port of Berdyansk, Ukraine. Video of the aftermath of the strike showed other Russian vessels escaping the port as the Saratov burned. The charred remains of the vessel were later hauled back to the surface of the port using a dock crane.
A Russian Raptor-class patrol boat near Kronstadt in 2016 At least two of the high-speed patrol boats were destroyed by a Ukrainian Bayraktar drone off Snake Island in March 2022. Raptors are fitted with a remotely controlled weapon, armor, and bullet-resistant glass. They first entered service with the Russian Navy in 2015.

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