China's call for a political settlement to the Ukraine war was timed to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion


  • Ukrainian maritime drones attacked Sevastopol's harbor Monday, Russian-appointed authorities in Crimea say
  • Sevastopol's governor said the military destroyed a Ukrainian sea drone and another one blew up
  • Ukraine's continued attacks on Russia's naval base in Crimea laid bare the weaknesses in Russia's old defenses

Ukraine's drone strikes on a Russian naval base in Moscow-annexed Crimea have led Russia to bolster its defenses by using combat "anti-diver" dolphins and physical barriers, according to a report.

After a series of attacks on the area, the entrance to the port of the Crimean city of Sevastopol is now protected by six layers of nets and booms as well as patrol boats, helicopter patrols, combat "anti-diver" dolphins and artillery systems, Naval News reported.

Sevastopol, the main naval base for the Russian Navy in Crimea, was most recently attacked early Monday morning.

Mikhail Razvozhayev, the Moscow-appointed governor of the port city, suggested on Telegram that the attack did not penetrate Sevastopol's harbor. The governor said that the military destroyed a Ukrainian sea drone, while a second one exploded on its own.

Ukraine has not publicly claimed responsibility for the attack.

Although Russia has been dispersing key assets to nearby naval areas, including in occupied Feodosia, some of its major warships are still in Sevastopol, making it a key target for Ukraine, which is believed to be preparing for a major counteroffensive amid the ongoing war.

There had long been floating booms across the Sevastopol harbor's entrance to prevent attacks, but an October 2022 drone strike allegedly by Ukraine hit several ships and laid bare the weaknesses in Russia's old defenses. Additional heavy boom defenses were placed at the entrance and other locations inside the port the following month.

A similar large-scale attack was launched on the area on March 22, with videos online showing explosions in Sevastopol as well as a fire in the naval base. Following this, two more layers of floating nets were placed on the outer side of the harbor entrance, and a row of six large pontoon barges were anchored just inside the entrance.

Russia started adding the pontoon barges between April 3 to 9, according to an analysis of radar satellite imagery.

The strengthened defenses are a "visible sign of Russia's more defensive posture in Crimea," according to Naval News.

"Russian ships have been patrolling more often near the Kerch Strait these past weeks. On the ground, they've been setting up a large number of trenches around key locations. Air-wise, they are becoming more aggressive regarding NATO intelligence missions," Benjamin Pittet, an independent defense analyst, told the outlet.

The defense expert also said that with reports that Ukrainian forces have advanced across the Dnipro River, north of Crimea, he believes that Russia is getting more concerned about potential actions against the annexed territory.

"They have been moving air defenses around for months now, they are not static, they keep moving. In the city, but also around Belbek airbase," Pittet said, adding that Russia has been building trenches in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions of Ukraine as well as across southern Crimea, near Feodosia.

Russia is expected to continue investing in defenses for its bases in Crimea.

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