Russia’s Baltic Fleet no longer has the ability to launch large-scale amphibious operations, according to a new report.
The findings are based on analysis of recent drills—dubbed Ocean Shield 2023—conducted by the Russian Navy in the Baltic Sea, according to a report from Rochan Consulting. The firm specializes in open source intelligence, conflict reporting and analysis, the global defense market, and national security, and currently focuses on monitoring military operations in Ukraine.
Russia’s Baltic Fleet began its Ocean Shield 2023 naval exercises in August under the command of Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Nikolay Yevmenov.
The Russian Defense Ministry said it involved more than 30 military vessels and boats, 20 support vessels, 30 aircraft, and some 6,000 military personnel.
The exercise took place at the same time as NATO was holding its own Baltic Sea drills.
Rochan Consulting noted that the exercise came at a time when the relationship between Russia and NATO member states was at its lowest. At the same time, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has negatively impacted its armed forces, including the Russian Navy.
“The Baltic Fleet, in particular, has had its capacities degraded,” the report said, noting that three of its large landing ships had been deployed to the Black Sea prior to the war, and because of the closure of the Bosphorus Strait to military traffic, they have not been able to return to their home port of Baltiysk.
“Likewise, the Baltic Fleet’s 336th Naval Infantry Brigade suffered significant losses in the war, significantly degrading the fleet’s capacity for power projection,” it said.
The consulting firm assessed that the Ocean Shield 2023 military drills “attempted to showcase to NATO that Russia could still project its power across the Baltic Fleet and damage NATO’s potential in the region.”
Russia’s Defense Ministry said in August that the drills were designed to test “the navy’s readiness to protect the national interests of the Russian Federation in an operationally important area” and would involve forces practicing how to “protect sea lanes, transport troops and military cargo, as well as defend the coastline.”
But the exercises only confirmed that the Baltic Fleet has lost its ability to conduct a large-scale offensive amphibious operation “due to the involvement of its Ropucha-class landing ships and the 336th Naval Infantry Brigade in the war in Ukraine,” the report said.
Newsweek has contacted Russia’s Defense Ministry via email for comment.
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