Russia increases fleet in Black Sea, Ukraine says

Russia has increased its number of ships in the Black Sea the Ukrainian Defense Forces, reported in its Telegram group on Saturday. 

The number of ships has increased to 13 units, including five large amphibious ships and one surface missile carrier.

The Russian frigate Admiral Makarov, equipped with up to eight Kalibr missiles, has been put on combat duty.

The increase in ships was in spite of a strong storm that hit the Black Sea on Saturday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sails a patrol boat to congratulate the crews of warships and submarines on Navy Day, Saint Petersburg, Russia, July 30, 2023 (credit: Sputnik/Alexander Kazakov/Kremlin via REUTERS)

Russia may launch naval base in Georgian breakaway region in 2024

A Russian naval base in Abkhazia, a breakaway territory internationally recognized as part of Georgia, may become operational in 2024, Russian state news agency RIA quoted Abkhazia’s security council as saying on Friday.

RIA quoted the secretary of Abkhazia’s security council, Sergei Shamba, as saying that construction of the base had not yet begun, but that “its operation may begin this year.”

A base in Ochamchire, a town of 5,000 near Abkhazia’s closed frontier with Georgia, would provide a new, more secure harbor for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet after its bases in Crimea came under repeated, damaging attack by Ukraine since Russia’s invasion of that country.

Abkhazia enjoyed extensive Russian support in a series of wars it fought to secede from Georgia in the 1990s and again in 2008, and Russian forces have long been stationed in the Caucasus territory.

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