Ukraine’s sinking of the Russian cruiser Moskva received significant attention in Western media. But there has been little investigation of the Ukraine war’s naval elements. Naval considerations motivated Russian intervention, while Russia’s naval supremacy has reduced Ukrainian freedom of action and shaped its strategic and operational decision making. Most critically, Russian naval losses will weaken its ability to project power into the eastern Mediterranean, regardless of the Ukraine conflict’s result. U.S. policy should grasp this and provide Ukraine with sufficient anti-ship capabilities to destroy the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had several causes. Vladimir Putin’s imperial ambition, the FSB’s incompetence, and the Russian policy establishment’s pervasive paranoia all drove the Kremlin to war. However, Russian intervention also stemmed from concrete military shifts between Kyiv and Moscow. As the war has demonstrated, the Ukrainian Armed Forces are experienced, have high morale, and are well-led. They possess an excellent doctrinal understanding of employing missile-armed light infantry and unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) to conduct deep battle against a quantitatively and qualitatively superior adversary. This should have come as no surprise. The Donbas War created an excellent Ukrainian officer corps and provided combat experience to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers.
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