Russia has sent its amphibious assault ships and other boats to Berdyansk, a Ukrainian port city it already captured. Berdyansk is close to Mariupol that is still under Ukraine’s control.
On February 27, the Russian troops claimed to have captured Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov. Russian forces in Berdyansk showcased roughly 10 captured Ukrainian navy and coast guard ships, including two Gyurza-M class patrol boats, to the reporter of RT, a state-run TV channel.
During an incident in the Sea of Azov in 2018, Russia’s security services had seized two of these ships, as well as a Ukrainian Navy tug. However, Russia eventually returned them the next year.
On March 14, President Vladimir Putin’s top spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, stated that Russian forces may strive to seize control of other key cities in Ukraine, which has long been considered a part of the Kremlin’s larger tactical strategy.
The arrival of more Russian troops in Berdyansk occurs as Moscow tries to strengthen its hold over Mariupol. This city is also on the Sea of Azov but is still under Ukrainian control.
— NewsComWorld (@NewsComWorld) March 14, 2022
For Russian forces in Ukraine, Mariupol remains a top priority. Only by seizing the city would they be able to fully control the coastline along the Sea of Azov. This would then serve as a landbridge between western Russia and the occupied Crimean Peninsula through disputed territories of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.
14.03.22 11.45 Бердянский порт. Суда фашистов. pic.twitter.com/N4V022W1oG
— Х… Бердянск (@PVB40) March 14, 2022
Mariupol has been surrounded by Russian troops for more than a week, shutting off supplies to the city. Residents face an acute shortage of drinking water and food, according to officials.
Much of the city has been devastated by indiscriminate Russian bombing. Despite these challenges, Ukrainian forces continue to resist Russian aggression in the area.
Russian Navy Joins The War
The British Ministry of Defense stated on March 13 that Russian naval troops had established a “distant blockade” of Ukraine’s Black Sea coast, stressing that warships are continuing to strike from the sea and maybe planning landings.
According to British intelligence, the blockade has effectively cut off Ukraine from global trade, as the Russian Navy continues to launch missile strikes on the country.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 13 March 2022
Find out more about the UK government's response: https://t.co/cz8Q0vnsA5
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) March 13, 2022
According to the report, Russian soldiers have already attempted one amphibious landing off the coast of the Sea of Azov and may attempt more. “Russian naval forces are also continuing to conduct missile strikes against targets throughout Ukraine.
Russia has already conducted one amphibious landing in the Sea of Azov and could look to conduct further such operations in the coming weeks,” the British MOD said in an intelligence update posted on Twitter.
“Russian naval forces have established a distant blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea coast, effectively isolating Ukraine from international maritime trade,” it added.
Moreover, US defense officials previously confirmed a Russian amphibious assault consisting of naval infantry moving ashore from the Sea of Azov, west of Mariupol, in the south of the Donetsk Oblast, at the start of the invasion last month.
The Ukrainian military claimed on March 8 that Vasily Bykov, one of two Russian vessels that attacked Snake Island in the Black Sea last month, had been destroyed near the port city of Odessa. According to the authorities, it is one of two Russian ships that have been wrecked thus far in the battle.
In a televised statement, Ukrainian national security advisor Oleksiy Danilov previously stated that Russian paratroopers were ready to attack Odessa, the largest Black Sea city, but would face tremendous resistance.
“They are waiting there, and they will have no smooth sailing,” he said. Inclement weather, he claimed, forced them to postpone an attack on the city.
A video posted by the Ukrainian navy a few days ago shows rockets lighting up the night sky in the port city of Odessa. The Russian vessel was apparently then destroyed. Then Ukrainian soldiers can be heard yelling, “We f******* hit them”. Another person said, “Russian warship, go f*** yourself”.
Although Russian forces are yet to launch strikes at Odessa, citizens have reinforced the city and built shelters in anticipation of an invasion.