The Russo-Ukrainian conflict: A look at two naval powers

The Russo-Ukrainian conflict: A look at two naval powers

The Russo-Ukrainian conflict: A look at two naval powers

Russia’s belligerence is backed by a powerful navy that seeks to dominate the seas and tilt the world in its favour. A display of the sentiment can be seen in the recent Russo-Ukrainian crisis.


Russia has been throwing her weight on her neighbours for a long time. With Ukraine, the Russian threat is historical, cultural and political. However, the recent deployment of around 100,000 Russian troops around the border with Ukraine has caused alarm the world over with US and NATO readying themselves to assist Ukraine and quell the Russian aggression.
Russia’s power comes from its domination of the seas with its powerful navy.

Russia has around 40 naval academies, colleges and schools strewn throughout its vast landscape- most of it in St Petersburg. These institutions churn out some of the world’s finest naval commanders and units. Russia also has an enormous naval force divided into four combat forces: surface, submarine, naval aviation and coastal troops. The Russian coastal troops include the maritime infantry and the coastal missile and artillery troops.

As of 2021, the Russian navy is reported to have 1,60,000 active duty personnel and approximately 360 aircraft and inventories. The submarines total 59 in number, including 12 nuclear-powered ballistic missiles and nine nuclear-powered cruise missiles. The surface forces and the submarines form the backbone of the Russian navy.

The only carrier which Russia possess is the 60,000 ton, Admiral Kuznetsov. But, because of its smaller displacement, it carries fewer jets than its American counterparts.

Russian naval aviation consists of naval missile-carrying, shore-based ASW, attack-stermovic, shore-based fighters, reconnaissance, ship born, and auxiliary units. The Russian maritime power also boasts 360 warships, including corvettes and frigates.





2014 was the year of Russian aggression on Ukrainian soil, which took Crimea away from Ukraine. As spoils of war, Russia took around 75 per cent of Ukraine’s naval fleet, along with a majority of its helicopters and the ship repair capacity.
With a gaping hole in the naval arena, Ukraine was looking at a compromised opening that could be used to breach its security.

With its naval base gone, the country had to begin the strenuous naval building exercise from scratch.
The US sensing the danger to Ukraine and to counter any Russian advance, committed five island-class patrol boats to the black sea nation. Along with that, it approved a 4125 million aid package that included 2 MK VI boats, counter-artillery radars, satellite imagery and analysis capabilities.
The Pentagon also pledged a $150 million package which included counter-drone systems, secure-communications gear, electronic warfare systems and more.

NATO-member Turkey allied with Ukraine to produce 2 Ada-class corvettes, the first of which would be delivered by the end of 2023. In addition, the Ukrainian defence ministry confirmed in June 2021, the delivery of the first Bayraktar TB2 drone from the Turkish defence company Baykar.

The scales are tipped in favour of Russia as far as naval supremacy is concerned. Still, with US assistance and NATO intervention in terms of technology and military innovation, Ukraine’s maritime unit is bettering itself at an enormous pace.

Also Read:The Russian-Ukrainian conflict and its effects on the maritime sector


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