|Navies of Russia|
The fleet traces its history to its founding by Prince Potemkin on May 13, 1783. The Russian SFSR inherited the fleet in 1918; with the founding of the Soviet Union in 1922 it became part of the Soviet Navy. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 the Russian Federation inherited the Black Sea Fleet and most of its vessels.
The Black Sea Fleet has its official primary headquarters and facilities in the city of Sevastopol (Sevastopol Naval Base). The remainder of the fleet's facilities are based in various locations on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, including Krasnodar Krai, Rostov Oblast and Crimea. The current[update] commander, Admiral Igor Vladimirovich Osipov, has held his position since May 2019.
The Black Sea Fleet is considered to have been founded by Prince Potemkin on May 13, 1783, together with its principal base, the city of Sevastopol. Formerly commanded by such legendary admirals as Dmitriy Senyavin and Pavel Nakhimov, it is a fleet of enormous historical and political importance for Russia. During the Russo-Turkish War of 1787–1792 Russian control over Crimea was confirmed and Russian naval forces under the command of Admiral Fyodor Ushakov defeated the Turkish fleet at the Battle of Kerch Strait in 1790, preventing the Turks from landing a force in Crimea.
During the French Revolutionary Wars, the Black Sea Fleet was initially deployed under the command of Admiral Ushakov, in conjunction with the Turks, against French forces during the Siege of Corfu. The victory led to the establishment of the Septinsular Republic with the island of Corfu then serving as a base for Russian naval units in the Mediterranean operating against the French. Subsequently Turkey, encouraged by the French, went to war with Russia in the Russo-Turkish War of 1806-1812. The Russian fleet (deploying from the Baltic, but joining some vessels of the Black Sea Fleet already in the Mediterranean prior to the outbreak of war) under the command of Admiral Dmitry Senyavin played an instrumental role in this conflict securing victories at both the Battle of the Dardanelles (1807) and the Battle of Athos.
After the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars, the Russians, together with the British and French, intervened in the Greek War of Independence defeating the Turkish fleet at the Battle of Navarino in 1827 and helping to secure Greek independence (though once again, the Russian fleet was compelled to deploy from the Baltic). Turkish closure of the Dardanelles Straits then sparked a renewed Russo-Turkish conflict from 1828-29 which led to the Russians gaining further territory along the eastern Black Sea.
The restriction imposed on the Black Sea Fleet by Turkish control of the Straits was influential in motivating Russia from time-to-time to attempt to secure control of the passage, which became a recurrent theme in Russian policy. From 1841 onward the Russian fleet was formally confined to the Black Sea by the London Straits Convention. However, within the Black Sea itself, the Turks found themselves at a naval disadvantage in relation to the Russian Black Sea Fleet. In 1853, the Black Sea Fleet destroyed Turkish naval forces at the Battle of Sinop after the Turks had declared war on Russia. Nevertheless during the ensuing Crimean War, the Russians were placed on the defensive and the allies were able to land their forces in Crimea and, ultimately, capture Sevastopol.
As a result of the Crimean War, one provision of the Treaty of Paris was that the Black Sea was to be a demilitarized zone similar to the Island of Åland in the Baltic Sea. This hampered the Russians during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 and in the aftermath of that conflict, Russia moved to reconstitute its naval strength and fortifications in the Black Sea.
The Black Sea Fleet would play an instrumental political role in the 1905 Russian Revolution with the crew of the battleship Potemkin revolting in 1905 soon after the Navy's defeat in the Russo-Japanese War. The revolt acquired a symbolic character in the lead up to the Russian Revolutions of 1917 and after, as portrayed in the 1925 film by Sergei Eisenstein, Battleship Potemkin. Lenin wrote that the Potemkin uprising had had a huge importance in terms of being the first attempt at creating the nucleus of a revolutionary army.
World War and Civil War
During World War I, there were a number of encounters between the Russian and Ottoman navies in the Black Sea. The Ottomans initially had the advantage due to having under their command the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben, but after the two modern Russian dreadnoughts Imperatritsa Mariya and Imperatritsa Ekaterina Velikaya had been built in Mykolaiv, the Russians took command of the sea until the Russian government collapsed in November 1917. German submarines of the Constantinople Flotilla and Turkish light forces would continue to raid and harass Russian shipping until the war's end.
In 1918, some elements of the fleet were interned by the Central Powers as a result of their advance into South Russia. In the April Crimea operation, the goal of both Ukrainians and Germans was to get control over the Black Sea Fleet, anchored in Sevastopol. Former Chief of Staff Mikhail Sablin raised the colours of the Ukrainian National Republic on 29 April 1918, and moved a portion of the Ukrainian fleet (two battleships and fourteen destroyers) to Novorossiysk in order to save it from capture by the Germans. He was ordered to scuttle his ships by Lenin but refused to do so. Most ships returned to Sevastopol, where they first came under German control, until November 1918 when they came under Allied control who later gave the ships to Wrangel's fleet of the Whites.
In 1919, following the collapse of the Central Powers' occupation in Western Russia, the Red Fleet of Ukraine was established out of certain remnants of the Russian Imperial Fleet. However, subsequently these elements were either scuttled or captured by the Western Allies. During the ensuing Russian Civil War, the chaotic political and strategic situation in southern Russia permitted the intervening Western allies to occupy Odessa, Sevastopol and other centres with relative ease. Most of the ships of the Black Sea Fleet became part of the "Russian Squadron" of Wrangel's armed forces. Following the defeat of anti-Bolshevik forces and the evacuation of Crimea by White forces, the fleet itself sailed to Tunisia. Out of those ships, some passed to the French Navy while others were sold as scrap.
With the defeat of the anti-Bolshevik Armed Forces of South Russia, the Soviet government took control of all naval elements. The few ships that remained in the Black Sea were scrapped in the 1920s and a large scale new construction programme began in the 1930s. Over 500 new ships were built during that period and a massive expansion of coastal infrastructure took place. The Black Sea Fleet was commanded by Vice Admiral F.S. Oktyabrskiy on the outbreak of war with Germany in June 1941.
During World War II despite the scale of the German/Axis advance in southern Russia, and the capture of Crimea by Axis forces in mid-1942, the Fleet, though badly mauled, gave a credible account of itself as it fought alongside the Red Army during the Siege of Odessa and the Battle of Sevastopol.
With the end of World War II, the Soviet Union effectively dominated the Black Sea region. The Soviet Union controlled the entire north and east of the Black Sea while pro-Soviet regimes were installed in Romania and Bulgaria. As members of the Warsaw Pact, the Romanian and Bulgarian navies supplemented the strength of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet. Only Turkey remained outside the Soviet Black Sea security regime and the Soviets initially pressed for joint control of the Bosporus Straits with Turkey; a position which Turkey rejected. In 1952, Turkey decided to join NATO, placing the Bosporus Straits in the Western sphere of influence. Nevertheless, the terms of the Montreux Convention limited NATO's options with respect to directly reinforcing Turkey's position in the Black Sea. The Soviets, in turn, had some of their naval options in the Mediterranean restricted by the Montreux Convention limitations.
In the later post-war period, along with the Northern Fleet, the Black Sea Fleet provided ships for the 5th Operational Squadron in the Mediterranean, which confronted the United States Navy during the Arab-Israeli wars, notably during the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
In 1988 Coastal Troops and Naval Aviation units of the Black Sea Fleet included:
- Danube Flotilla:
- 116th River Ship Brigade (Izmail, Odessa Oblast)
- 112th Reconnaissance Ship Brigade (Lake Donuzlav (Mirnyy), Crimean Oblast)
- 37th Rescue Ship Brigade (Sevastopol, Crimean Oblast)
- Marine and Coastal Defense Forces Department
- 810th Marine Brigade (Sevastopol, Crimean Oblast)
- 362nd independent Coastal Missile Regiment (Balaklava, Crimean Oblast)
- 138th independent Coastal Missile Regiment (Chernomorsk, Crimean Oblast)
- 417th independent Coastal Missile Regiment (Sevastopol, Crimean Oblast)
- 51st independent Coastal Missile Regiment (Mekenzerye, Crimean Oblast)
- Naval Air Forces Department of the Black Sea Fleet
- 2nd Guards Maritime Missile Aviation Division (Gvardeyskoye, Crimean Oblast)(three regiments of maritime attack Tu-22M2s
- 30th independent Maritime Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment (Saki-Novofedorovka, Crimean Oblast)(Tu-22P)
- 318th independent Anti-Submarine Aviation Regiment (Lake Donuzlav, Crimean Oblast)
- 78th independent Shipborne Anti-Submarine Helicopter Regiment (Lake Donuzlav, Crimean Oblast)
- 872nd independent Shipborne Anti-Submarine Helicopter Regiment (Kacha, Crimean Oblast)
- 917th independent Transport Aviation Regiment (Kacha, Crimean Oblast)
- 859th Training Center for Naval Aviation (Kacha, Crimean Oblast)
In 1989, the 126th Motor Rifle Division at Simferopol was transferred to the Black Sea Fleet from the Odessa Military District. Also that year, the 119th Fighter Aviation Division, with the 86th Guards, 161st, and 841st Guards Fighter Aviation Regiments, joined the Fleet from the 5th Air Army. The 86th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment became part of the Moldovan Air Force upon the breakup of the Soviet Union. The 841st at Meria airport (between Poti and Batumi in the Adjar ASSR) (Georgian SSR) became the 841st independent Guards Anti-Submarine Helicopter Regiment in May 1991 and was disbanded in October 1992.
After the fall of the Soviet Union
With the fall of the Soviet Union and the demise of the Warsaw Pact, Russia's strategic position in the Black Sea was severely weakened. The military importance of the fleet was degraded due to significant funding cuts, the loss of territory, the loss of former Warsaw Pact allies and the loss of its major missions. The loss of Crimea reinforced these developments and saw the Black Sea Fleet now located in a foreign country with which its assets were divided. In 1992, the major part of the personnel, armaments and coastal facilities of the Fleet fell under formal jurisdiction of the newly independent Ukraine as they were situated on Ukrainian territory. Later, the Ukrainian government ordered the establishment of its own Ukrainian Navy based on the Black Sea Fleet; several ships and ground formations declared themselves Ukrainian.
However, this immediately led to conflicts with the majority of officers who appeared to be loyal to Russia. According to pro-Ukrainian sailors they were declared "drunkards and villains" and they and their families were harassed. They have also claimed that their names were branded "traitors to Russia" on local graffiti. Simultaneously, pro-Russian separatist groups became active in the local politics of Ukraine's Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the Sevastopol municipality where the major naval bases were situated, and started coordinating their efforts with pro-Moscow seamen.
Joint Fleet and its partition
To ease the tensions, the two governments signed an interim treaty, establishing a joint Russo-Ukrainian Black Sea Fleet under bilateral command (and Soviet Navy flag) until a full-scale partition agreement could be reached. Formally, the Fleet's Commander was to be appointed by a joint order of the two countries' Presidents. However, Russia still dominated the Fleet unofficially, and a Russian admiral was appointed as Commander; the majority of the fleet personnel adopted Russian citizenship. Minor tensions between the Fleet and the new Ukrainian Navy (such as electricity cut-offs and sailors' street-fighting) continued.
On 28 May 1997, Russia and Ukraine signed several agreements regarding the fleet including the Partition Treaty, establishing two independent national fleets and dividing armaments and bases between them. Ukraine also agreed to lease major parts of its facilities to the Russian Black Sea Fleet until 2017. However, permanent tensions on the lease details continued. The Fleet's main base was still situated in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol. In 2009 the Yushchenko Ukrainian government declared that the lease would not be extended and that the fleet would have to leave Sevastopol by 2017. In 2010 the Russian leasehold was renegotiated with an extension until 2042 and an option for an additional five years until 2047 plus consideration of further renewals. This deal proved controversial in Ukraine.
In this regard, relations between Russia and Ukraine over the status of the Fleet continued to be strained. In an August 2009 letter to then Russian President Medvedev, former Ukrainian President Yushchenko complained about alleged "infringements of bilateral agreements and Ukrainian legislation"
In June 2009, the head of the Ukrainian Security Service said that after December 13, 2009, all officers from the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) represented at the (Russian) Black Sea Fleet would be required to leave Ukraine. From then the Security Service of Ukraine would ensure the security of the (Russian) Black Sea Fleet and Russian sailors on Ukrainian territory. However, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry the employees of the FSB, working at the Black Sea Fleet facilities, were to remain on Ukrainian territory "in line with bilateral agreements". In 2010, based on an agreement between Ukrainian and Russian governments military counterintelligence officers from the Federal Security Service returned to the (Russian) Black Sea Fleet base.
In October–November 2009, the (Russian) Black Sea Fleet complained about illegal inspection of (non-boat) transport vehicles owned by the fleet by the Sevastopol State Auto Inspectorate and Ukrainian security officers, calling them "disrespect for the status of the Russian military units and an unfriendly step aimed at worsening the Russian-Ukrainian relations".
Despite these differences, joint exercises between the Ukrainian Navy and the (Russian) Black Sea Fleet were resumed after a seven-year interval with a command-staff exercise in June 2010. In May 2011, Russian-Ukrainian at-sea naval "Peace Fairway" (Farvater Mira) exercises resumed.
Georgia in the Fleet partition
The newly independent nation of Georgia, which also hosted several bases of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet when it was the Georgian SSR, also claimed a share of the Fleet, including 32 naval vessels formerly stationed at Georgia's Black Sea port of Poti. Not a CIS member at that time, Georgia was not, however, included in the initial negotiations in January 1992. Additionally, some low-importance bases situated in the Russian-backed breakaway autonomy of Abkhazia soon escaped any Georgian control. In 1996, Georgia resumed its demands, and the Russian refusal to allot Georgia a portion of the ex-Soviet navy became another bone of contention in the progressively deteriorating Georgian-Russian relations. This time, Ukraine endorsed Tbilisi's claims, turning over several patrol boats to the Georgian Navy and starting to train Georgian crews, but was unable to include in the final fleet deal a transfer of the formerly Poti-based vessels to Georgia. Later, the rest of the Georgian share was decided to be ceded to Russia in return for diminution of debt.
Russia employed part of the fleet during the 2008 Georgian conflict. Russian units operating off Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia region resulted in a reported skirmish and sinking of a ship of the Georgian Navy. Since the 2008 South Ossetia war the Russian Black Sea Fleet has not taken part in any joint naval exercises involving Georgian warships. However, such a statement has little meaning since the Georgian Navy has ceased to exist (early 2009 it was merged with the Georgian coast guard).
Russian annexation of Crimea
The 2014 political crisis in Ukraine rapidly engulfed Crimea where pro-Russian separatist sentiment was strong. When the Russian Government determined to seize Crimea, specialist Russian military units appear to have played the central role. In March, the Ukrainians claimed that units of the 18th Motor Rifle Brigade, 31st Air Assault Brigade and 22nd Spetsnaz Brigade were deployed and operating in Crimea, instead of Black Sea Fleet personnel, which violated international agreements signed by Ukraine and Russia. Nevertheless, at minimum the Black Sea Fleet played a supporting role including with respect to preventing the departure of Ukrainian naval vessels from Crimea. Other sources suggested that the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade of the Fleet was also involved.
After the 2014 Crimean crisis, the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Ukrainian Navy were evicted from their bases and subsequently withdrew from Crimea. Russia then moved to integrate several vessels from the Ukrainian Navy into the Black Sea Fleet. According to sources from Black Sea Fleet Headquarters, inspections of all ships were to be done by the end of 2014. Fifty-four out of sixty-seven ships of the Ukrainian Navy have been transferred to the Black Sea Fleet, with St. Andrew flags raised on them. On 8 April 2014 an agreement was reached between Russia and Ukraine to return Ukrainian Navy materials to Ukraine proper. The greater portion of the Ukrainian naval ships and vessels were then returned to Ukraine but Russia suspended this process after Ukraine did not renew its unilaterally declared ceasefire on 1 July 2014 in the conflict in the Donbass. According to the fleet commander Aleksandr Vitko, this happened because the vessels were old "and, if used [by Ukraine], could hurt its own people".
From that point, Russia proceded to consolidate its military position in Crimea, which it now regarded as an integral part of the Russian Federation; though this position was not one supported by most of the international community.
Strengthening of the Fleet
The Russian seizure of Crimea in 2014 changed the situation and role of the Black Sea Fleet significantly. Analysis undertaken by Micheal Peterson of the US Naval War College suggests that since the Russian seizure of Crimea, the modernization of Russian shore-based assets and of the Black Sea Fleet itself has assisted in re-establishing Russian military dominance in the region. Specifically Peterson argues: "Russian maritime dominance in the Black Sea is back. The shift was made possible by Moscow's 2014 seizure of Crimea and subsequent buildup of combat and maritime law enforcement capabilities in the region".
Prior to the annexation of Crimea, divergent announcements were made concerning the future composition of the fleet. In June 2010, Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky announced that Russia was reviewing plans for the naval modernization of the Black Sea Fleet. The plans include 15 new warships and submarines by 2020. These vessels were to partially replace the reported decommissioning of Kerch, Ochakov (decommissioned in 2011 and sunk as a blockship in 2014), several large support ships, and a diesel-electric submarine. Also in 2010, Russian Navy Headquarters sources said that, by 2020, six frigates of Project 22350 Gorshkov-class, six submarines of Project 677 Lada-class, two large landing ships of Project 11711 Ivan Gren-class and four class-unspecified ships would be delivered. Due to the obsolescence of the Beriev Be-12 by 2015, they would be replaced with Il-38s. Sukhoi Su-24M aircraft were planned to be upgraded to Su-24M2 at the same time.
Since the annexation of Crimea, the composition of the Black Sea Fleet has shifted to focus on the Improved Kilo-class submarines instead of the Lada, the Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates and at least three new classes of missile corvettes (the Steregushchiy, Karakurt and Buyan-M classes). The deployment of the Admiral Gorshkov-class frigate with the Black Sea Fleet was still anticipated, though in reduced numbers. The replacement of the Black Sea Fleet's Soviet-era missile boats and corvettes with vessels of more modern design has been a priority since 2010. A similar modernization is also taking place in the Baltic Fleet and the Caspian Flotilla. Utilizing Russia's internal waterways provides the Russian Navy with the capacity to transfer both corvettes and other light units, such as landing craft, among its three western fleets and the Caspian Flotilla as may be required.
The projection of power into the Mediterranean has also returned as a significant role for the Black Sea Fleet with the reconstitution of the Russian Navy's 5th Operational Squadron. Both the Black Sea Fleet and the Caspian Flotilla have supported Russian involvement in the Syrian Civil War with units from the former now routinely deployed into the Mediterranean.
Also significant is the build-up of Russian surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missile assets in the region. Dmitry Gorenburg of the Centre for Naval Analysis (CNA) has noted that: "Russia's expanded military footprint in Crimea allows it to carry out a range of operations that it was not capable of prior to 2014. The deployment of S-400, Bastion, and Bal missiles allows the Russian military to establish an anti-access/area-denial zone (A2/AD) covering almost all of the Black Sea. By using a combination of ground-based and ship-based missiles, backed with strong electronic warfare capabilities, the Russian military can inhibit military movement into the Black Sea and deny freedom of action to an opponent if it does make it into the theater. The long-range sea-, air-, and ground-launched missiles deny access, while shorter-range coastal and air defense systems focus on the area denial mission. The result is several interlocking air defense zones". Ongoing technological upgrades of this already robust SAM network are planned for the 2020s. Others, such as Michael Kofman of CNA, argue that while there is no A2/AD doctrine or term in Russian military strategy, Russian forces nevertheless are organized at an operational and strategic level to deploy a wide range of overlapping defensive and offensive capabilities that extend beyond just one theatre of operations like the Black Sea.
The evident American response to the dense shore-based anti-ship and air defence capabilities that Russia has developed in the Black Sea region, and elsewhere, has been to place greater emphasis on striking at potential Black Sea and other targets utilizing stand-off air-launched cruise missiles deployed on American long-range bombers. Additionally, the United States, the United Kingdom and Turkey have entered into contracts to supply new corvettes, missile-armed fast attack craft, patrol boats and unmanned air vehicles to the Ukrainian Navy.
In 2020, the Black Sea Fleet obtained seven new warships and auxiliary ships, including corvette Grayvoron, patrol ship Pavel Derzhavin, seagoing tug Sergey Balk, as well as a harbour tugs and three hydrographic survey vessels. In 2021, the same number of vessels should enter service.
On 29 January 2021, three US naval vessels entered the Black Sea for the first time in three years. On 1 February, the Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky argued for NATO membership for Ukraine. On 19 March, another significant US naval deployment to the Black Sea took place, as cruiser USS Monterey and destroyer USS Thomas Hudner entered the sea on 19 and 20 March respectively. Prior to the scheduled deployment, on 12 March Russian cruiser Moskva made an exit to sea and on 19 March all six submarines of the Black Sea Fleet went to sea, which was an unprecedented event. Russian ground also started a buildup on the border with Ukraine. On 2 April, Zelensky had his first telephone conversation with Biden and on 6 April he called NATO's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg pressuring NATO to speed up Ukrainian path to the membership. On 8 April, Russia started moving ten of its Caspian Flotilla warships to the Black Sea. Six amphibious and three artillery boats of Serna and Shmel classes, as well as a hydrographic boat GS-599, were reported in transit, while Black Sea Fleet frigate Admiral Essen conducted an artillery exercise, usually done to raise the readiness for the amphibious landing. The same day, the US decided to send two warships to the Black Sea.
On 9 April 2021, tensions rose further and Ukraine promised not to attack the separatists, while Russia considered intervening to prevent bloodshed. On the same day, two Black Sea Fleet corvettes, Vishny Volochyok and Gravoron, conducted an exercise. The two US destroyers were clarified by Turkey to be USS Roosevelt and USS Donald Cook, while Putin stressed the importance of the Montreaux Convention in a telephone conversation with Turkish president Recep Erdogan. On 17 April, amphibious ships Aleksandr Otrakovsky and Kondoponga of the Northern Fleet and Kaliningrad and Korolyov of the Baltic Fleet strengthened the amphibious warfare capabilities of the Black Sea Fleet. On 30 April, cruiser Moskva fired a Vulkan anti-ship missile for the first time.
Incident with HMS Defender
On 23 June 2021, the United Kingdom's HMS Defender undertook a freedom of navigation patrol through the disputed waters around the Crimean Peninsula. The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation and border guards said they fired warning shots from coast guard patrol ships and dropped bombs from a Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft in the path of Defender after, according to the Russian Defence Ministry, it had allegedly strayed for about 20 minutes as far as 3 km (2 miles) into waters off the coast of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014 in a move mostly unrecognised internationally. The UK military denied any warning shots were fired and said the ship was in innocent passage in Ukraine's territorial sea, later clarifying that heavy guns were fired three miles astern and could not be considered to be warning shots.
|1||VADM||Aleksey Fedotovich Klokachev||1783|
|2||VADM||Yakov Filippovich Sukhotin||1784 – 1785|
|3||RADM||Nikolay Semenovich Mordvinov||1785 – 1789|
|4||RADM||Marko Ivanovich Voynovich||1789 – 1790|
|5||RADM||Fyodor Fyodorovich Ushakov||1790 – 1792|
|#||ADM||Nikolay Semenovich Mordvinov||1792 – 1799|
|6||ADM||Vilim Petrovich Fondezin||1799 – 1802|
|7||ADM||Aleksandr Ivanovich de Travers||1802 – 1811|
|8||ADM||Roman Romanovich Gall||1811|
|9||VADM||Nikolay Lvovich Yazykov||1811 – 1816|
|10||ADM||Aleksey Samuilovich Greig||1816 – 1833|
|11||ADM||Mikhail Petrovich Lazarev||1834 – 1851|
|12||ADM||Morits Borisovich Berg||1851 – 1855|
|13||VADM||Nikolay Fedorovich Metlin||Sep 1855 – Dec 1855|
|14||VADM||Aleksandr Ivanovich Panfilov||Jan 1856 – Aug 1856|
|15||RADM||Grigoriy Ivanovich Butakov||Aug 1856 – Jan 1860|
|16||VADM||Bogdan Aleksandrovich Glazenap||1860 – Jan 1871|
|17||ADM||Nikolay Andreyevich Arkas||1871 – 1881|
|18||ADM||Mikhail Pavlovich Manganari||1881 – 1882|
|19||VADM||Aleksey Alekseyevich Peshchurov||1882 – 1890|
|20||RADM||Roman Andreevich Grenkvist||1890|
|21||VADM||Nikolay Vasilyevich Kopytov||1891 – 1898|
|22||VADM||Yevgeni Ivanovich Alekseyev||1898|
|23||VADM||Sergey Petrovich Tyrtov||6 May 1898 – 1903|
|24||VADM||Yakov Appolonovich Giltebrandt||1903|
|25||VADM||Nikolay Illarionovich Skrydlov||1903 – 1904|
|26||VADM||Aleksandr Khristianovich Kriger||1904|
|27||VADM||Grigoriy Pavlovich Chukhnin||1904 – 1906|
|28||RADM||Ivan Konstantinovich Grigorovich||1906|
|29||VADM||Nikolay Illarionovich Skrydlov||1906 – 1907|
|30||RADM||Genrikh Faddeevich Tsyvinskiy||1907|
|31||RADM||Robert Nikolayevich Viren||1907 – 1908|
|32||VADM||Ivan Fyodorovich Bostrem||1908 – 1909|
|33||VADM||Vladimir Simonovich Sarnavskiy||1909 – 1911|
|34||VADM||Ivan Fyodorovich Bostrem||1911|
|35||RADM||Pavel Ivanovich Novitskiy||1911|
|36||VADM||Andrey Avgustovich Ehbergard||1911 – Jun 1916|
|37||VADM||Aleksandr Vasilyevich Kolchak||Jun 1916 – Jun 1917|
|38 (Acting)||RADM||Veniamin Konstantinovich Lukin||Jun 1917 – Jul 1917|
|39||RADM||Aleksandr Vasilyevich Nemitts||Jul 1917 – Dec 1917|
|41||Captain 1st Rank||Aleksandr Ivanovich Tikhmenev||1918|
|42||Captain 1st Rank||Aleksandr Ivanovich Sheykovskiy||1919|
|43||Captain 1st Rank||Aleksey Vladimirovich Dombrovskiy||May 1920 – Oct 1920|
|44||Ehduard Samuilovich Pantserzhanskiy||Nov 1920 – Nov 1921|
|45||Andrey Semenovich Maksimov||Nov 1921 – Jul 1922|
|46||Aleksandr Karlovich Vekman||Jul 1922 – May 1924|
|47||Mikhail Vladimirovich Viktorov||May 1924 – Dec 1924|
|48||Ehduard Samuilovich Pantserzhanskiy||Dec 1924 – Oct 1926|
|49||Vladimir Mitrofanovich Orlov||Oct 1926 – Jun 1931|
|50||Fleet Flag Officer 2nd Rank||Ivan Kuz'mich Kozhanov||Jun 1931 – Aug 1937|
|51||Fleet Flag Officer 2nd Rank||Petr Ivanovich Smirnov-Svetlovskiy||Aug 1937 – Dec 1937|
|52||Fleet Flag Officer 2nd Rank||Ivan Stepanovich Yumashev||1938 – Mar 1939|
|53||VADM||Filipp Sergeyevich Oktyabrskiy||Mar 1939 – Apr 1943|
|54||VADM||Lev Anatol'evich Vladimirskiy||Apr 1943 – Mar 1944|
|55||VADM||Filipp Sergeyevich Oktyabrskiy||Mar 1944 – Nov 1948|
|56||ADM||Nikolai Efremovich Basistiy||Nov 1948 – Aug 1951|
|57||ADM||Sergey Georgiyevich Gorshkov||Aug 1951 – Jul 1955|
|58||VADM||Viktor Aleksandrovich Parkhomenko||Jul 1955 – Dec 1955|
|59||ADM||Vladimir Afanasyevich Kasatonov||Dec 1955 – Feb 1962|
|60||ADM||Serafim Evgeniyevich Chursin||Feb 1962 – Dec 1968|
|61||ADM||Viktor Sergeyevich Sysoyev||Dec 1968 – Mar 1974|
|62||ADM||Nikolay Ivanovich Khovrin||Mar 1974 – April 1983|
|63||ADM||Aleksey Mikhailovich Kalinin||Apr 1983 – Jul 1985|
|64||ADM||Mikhail Nikolayevich Khronopulo||Jul 1985 – Oct 1991|
|65||ADM||Igor Vladimirovich Kasatonov||Oct 1991 – Dec 1992|
|66||ADM||Ehduard Dmitriyevich Baltin||Dec 1992 – Feb 1996|
|67||ADM||Viktor Andreyevich Kravchenko||Feb 1996 – Jul 1998|
|68||ADM||Vladimir Petrovich Komoyedov||Jul 1998 – Oct 2002|
|69||ADM||Vladimir Vasilyevich Masorin||Oct 2002 – Feb 2005|
|70||ADM||Aleksandr Arkadyevich Tatarinov||Feb 2005 – Jul 2007|
|71||VADM||Aleksandr Dmitrievich Kletskov||Jul 2007 – Jul 2010|
|72||VADM||Vladimir Ivanovich Korolev||Jul 2010 – Jun 2011|
|73||VADM||Aleksandr Nikolayevich Fedotenkov||Jun 2011 – May 2013|
|74||ADM||Aleksandr Viktorovich Vitko||17 May 2013 – June 2018|
|75||VADM||Aleksandr Alekseevich Moiseev||26 June 2018 – 3 May 2019|
|76||ADM||Igor Vladimirovich Osipov||3 May 2019 – present|
Black Sea Fleet: Order of Battle
The Black Sea Fleet, and other Russian ground and air forces in Crimea, are subordinate to the Southern Military District of the Russian Armed Forces. The Black Sea Fleet is one component of Russian forces in the Southern Military District and is supported by other Russian military formations in the District, including the 4th Air and Air Defence Forces Army. The Russian Coast Guard and National Guard of Russia provide additional armed patrol capabilities, which have also been expanded since the Russian seizure of Crimea to support the enforcement of Russian territorial claims.
30th Surface Ship Division
|121||Guided Missile Cruiser||Moskva||Slava||1983||Active, Fleet Flagship|
|801||Guided Missile Frigate||Ladnyy||Krivak||1980||Active; returned to the fleet in 2021 post-refit|
|808||Guided Missile Frigate||Pytlivyy||Krivak||1981||Active|
|745||Guided Missile Frigate||Admiral Grigorovich||Admiral Grigorovich||2016||Active|
|751||Guided Missile Frigate||Admiral Essen||Admiral Grigorovich||2016||Active; deployed in the Mediterranean as of September 2021|
|799||Guided Missile Frigate||Admiral Makarov||Admiral Grigorovich||2017||Deployed to the Mediterranean May 2021|
4th Independent Submarine Brigade
|554||Diesel Attack Submarine||Alrosa (B-871)||Kilo 877V||1990||Sevastopol||Undergoing maintenance; return to service projected by November 2021; potential transfer to the Baltic Fleet reported under consideration.|
|555||Diesel Attack Submarine||Novorossiysk (B-261)||Improved Kilo 636.3||2014||Novorossiysk||Active|
|556||Diesel Attack Submarine||Rostov na donu (B-237)||Improved Kilo 636.3||2014||Novorossiysk||Deployed to the Mediterranean and Baltic in 2020-21|
|557||Diesel Attack Submarine||Staryy Oskol (B-262)||Improved Kilo 636.3||2015||Novorossiysk||Deployed in the Mediterranean as of June 2021|
|558||Diesel Attack Submarine||Krasnodar (B-265)||Improved Kilo 636.3||2015||Novorossiysk||Active; reported forward deployed in the Mediterranean and Baltic 2020-21|
|559||Diesel Attack Submarine||Velikiy Novgorod (B-268)||Improved Kilo 636.3||2016||Novorossiysk||Active as of 2021|
|560||Diesel Attack Submarine||Kolpino (B-271)||Improved Kilo 636.3||2016||Novorossiysk||Active|
197th Assault Ship Brigade
|152||Landing Ship||Nikolay Filchenkov||Alligator||1975|
|148||Landing Ship||Orsk||Alligator||1968||Active; deployed to Mediterranean, Sept 2021|
|151||Landing Ship||Azov||Ropucha-II||1990||Active as of 2021|
|142||Landing Ship||Novocherkassk||Ropucha-I||1987||Deployed to the Mediterranean May 2021|
|158||Landing Ship||Caesar Kunikov||Ropucha-I||1986||Active as of 2021|
68th Coastal Defense Ship Brigade
|059||ASW Corvette||Alexandrovets||Grisha I||1982|
|071||ASW Corvette||Suzdalets||Grisha III||1983||Active as of 2021.|
|064||ASW Corvette||Muromets||Grisha III||1983|
|913||Seagoing Minesweeper||Kovrovets||Natya I||1974||Active as of 2021|
|911||Seagoing Minesweeper||Ivan Golubets||Natya I||1973||Active as of 2021|
|912||Seagoing Minesweeper||Turbinist||Natya I||1972|
|601||Seagoing Minesweeper||Ivan Antonov||Alexandrit||2018||Deployed to Mediterranean early 2021|
|659||Seagoing Minesweeper||Vladimir Emelyanov||Alexandrit||2019||Active|
|631||Seagoing Minesweeper||Georgy Kurbatov||Alexandrit||2021||Active; deployed in the Baltic as of August 2021|
|836||Anti-Saboteur Boat||Yunarmeets Kryma||Grachonok||2014|
|844||Anti-Saboteur Boat||Pavel Silaev||Grachonok||2017||Deployed to the Mediterranean June 2021|
|?||High-speed landing craft||D-296||Project 02510||2015|
|?||High-speed landing craft||D-309||Project 02510||2018|
41st Missile Boat Brigade
|609||Guided Missile Corvette||Vyshniy Volochyok||Buyan-M||2018||Active|
|615||Guided Missile Corvette||Bora||Dergach||1989||In refit as of September 2021|
|616||Guided Missile Corvette||Samum||Dergach||2000||Active|
|626||Guided Missile Corvette||Orekhovo-Zuyevo||Buyan-M||2018||Active as of 2021|
|630||Guided Missile Corvette||Ingushetiya||Buyan-M||2019||Deployed to the Mediterranean July 2021|
|600||Guided Missile Corvette||Grayvoron||Buyan-M||2021||Active|
|962||Missile Boat||Shuya||Tarantul-II Mod||1985|
|953||Missile Boat||Naberezhnye Chelny||Tarantul-III||1991|
|801||Missile Corvette||Tsiklon||Karakurt||Projected 2021||Sea trials|
184th Novorossiysk Coastal Defense Brigade
|053||Small Antisubmarine Ship||Povorino||Grisha III||1989|
|054||Small Antisubmarine Ship||Eysk||Grisha-III||1987|
|055||Small Antisubmarine Ship||Kasimov||Grisha-III||1984||Active as of 2021|
|368||Patrol ship||Vasiliy Bykov||Project 22160||2018||Deployed to the Mediterranean as of May 2021|
|375||Patrol ship||Dmitriy Rogachev||Project 22160||2019||Active|
|363||Patrol ship||Pavel Derzhavin||Project 22160||2020||Active|
|901||Seagoing Minesweeper||Anatoliy Zheleznyakov||Gorya||1988||Active as of 2021|
|770||Seagoing Minesweeper||Valentin Pikul||Natya I Mod||2001||Active as of 2021|
|908||Seagoing Minesweeper||Vice-Admiral Zakharin||Pr.02668 (Natya)||2009||Active as of 2021|
|458||Base Minesweeper||Mineralnyye Vody (BT-241)||Sonya||1989||Unclear if active|
|442?||Base Minesweeper||BT-726||Sonya||1976||Unclear if active|
|842||Anti-Saboteur Boat||Kursant Kirovets||Grachonok||2013|
519th Separate Squadron
|201||Intelligence Vessel||Priazovye||Vishnya-class intelligence ship||1972||Active as of 2021|
|?||Intelligence Vessel||Ivan Khurs||Yury Ivanov-class intelligence ship||2018||Deployed to Mediterranean early 2021|
Fleet Oilers/Support Ships
|?||Fleet Oiler||Ivan Bubnov||Project 1559V Morskoy prostor||1975||Deployed to Mediterranean early 2021|
|?||Fleet Oiler||Istra||Dora||1942||Transferred to the Soviet Union from Germany as part of war reparations; still reported in service|
|?||Fleet Oiler||Iman||Project 6404||1966||Deployed to Mediterranean early 2021|
|?||Fleet Oiler||Vice Admiral Paromov||Project 03182||2021|
|?||Logistics Support Vessel||Vsevolod Bobrov||Project 23120||2021||Deploying from Baltic to Black Sea post-commissioning|
- 22nd Army Corps (HQ: Simferopol, Crimea; subordinate to the Black Sea Fleet):
- 15th Independent Coastal Missile-Artillery Brigade - Sevastopol, Crimea: 3x K-300P Bastion-P anti-ship missile system (350 to 450 km range), P-800 Oniks anti-ship missile system (credited with 300 km to 600–800 km range) (Western designation SS-N-26), Bal anti-ship missile system (130 to 300 km range); targeting information provided by Monolit radar systems.
- 126th Separate Coastal Defence Brigade(deployed in Crimea; reported equipped as mechanized infantry brigade, including heavy armour - T-72B3 main battle tanks)
- 127th Separate Reconnaissance Brigade(deployed in Crimea; reported at battalion+ strength)
- 8th Artillery Regiment (Simferopol, Crimea; self-propelled howitzers, multiple rocket launchers, anti-tank missile systems/guns)
- 854th Separate Coastal Missile Regiment (Sevastopol)
- 171st Separate Air Assault Battalion (Novostepove Crimea; subordinate to the 97th Regiment of the 7th Guards Mountain Air Assault Division, HQ at Novorossiysk, Krasnodar)
- 56th Guards Air Assault Regiment (reported to be formed from the planned re-deployment of the 56th Guards Air Assault Brigade from the Volgograd region to Feodosia in Crimea; regiment may integrate and further reinforce the strength of 7th Guards Air Assault Division)
- 11th Coastal Missile-Artillery Brigade - Utash, Krasnodar region: 3-5 Bastion battalions and 1-2 Bal battalions.
- Surface-to-Surface Missiles (included deployed on Crimean peninsula):
- Naval Infantry/Special Forces
Black Sea Region Aviation and Air Defence Forces
- 43rd Independent Naval Shturmovik Maritime Attack Aviation Regiment – HQ at Gvardeyskoye, Crimea – 18x Su-24M; 4x Su-24MR (being replaced by Sukhoi Su-30SMs as of 2019; Su-30SMs reported active with the regiment as of 2021)
- 318th Mixed Aviation Regiment (Kacha Air Base): reportedly An-26, Be-12, and Ka-27 ASW and Ka-29 assault/transport helicopters (as of 2019 - Regiment may supersede/replace former 25th and 917th Aviation Regiments?)
- 37th Composite Aviation Regiment (Simferopol) (Two Squadrons: Su-24 and Su-25)
- 38th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment (Sevastopol) (Two Squadrons: Su-27/Su-30SM the latter with Oniks (Yakhont) supersonic anti-ship missiles)(may partly re-equip with Su-57?)
- 39th Helicopter Regiment (Dzhankoi) has been equipped with Mi-35M attack helicopters, Ka-52, Mi-28N, and Mi-8AMTSh helicopters (as of 2016).
- 12th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment
- 18th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment
51st Air Defense Division (HQ: Rostov-on-Don; with S-400, S-300, Pantsir, Buk SAM systems subordinate to 4th Air Army)
- 1537th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment (Novorossiysk, Krasnodar)
- 1721st Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment (Sochi; may have started re-equipping with S-350 surface-to-air missile systems in May 2021).
- 1536th Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment (Rostov-on-Don)
The Russian Black Sea Fleet's (BSF) use of leased facilities in Sevastopol and the Crimea was sometimes controversial. A number of incidents took place:
- For security reasons, the BSF refused to allow Ukrainians to inspect its aircraft cargo, after allegations by Ukrainians that they could be carrying nuclear weapons, which would have infringed upon Ukraine's status under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
- The BSF transported rockets repeatedly through the port of Sevastopol without seeking permission from Ukrainian authorities.
- A lighthouse is located on the headland which, starting in 2005, was the subject of a controversy between Ukraine and Russia. From August 3, 2005, the lighthouse was occupied by the Russian military. Despite a controversial ruling by a Court in Sevastopol on the subject, Russian military officials referred to the fact that they only took orders from the chief of the Russian Navy headquarters and no one else. Ukrainian activists complained that Sarych was illegally occupied by the Russian Navy. As a military facility, the territory around the Sarych headland is closed to trespassers with barbed wire, and the Russian flag flew over Sarych.
- In 2006, Ukrainian officials blocked Russian workers from entering the BSF lighthouse in Yalta.
- During the 2008 South Ossetia War, the Ukrainian Navy was ordered to block the entrance to Sevastopol from Russian vessels taking part in the hostilities. However, Russian Navy ships returned to base unimpeded by the sympathetic Ukrainian sailors.
- June 20, 2009 – In Sevastopol, a Russian fleet servicemen allegedly used physical force against 30 civilians. The city also alleges contract violations by the Construction Management Corporation of the Black Sea Fleet for not following through on promises to construct requested commercial housing after taking advance payment. The city began talks with the President and the Prime-Minister of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin, and also to the Russian Minister of Defense Anatoliy Serdyukov with respect to the contract violations, but those did not yield results.
- On August 27, 2009, Russian marines successfully prevented Ukrainian bailiffs from enforcing a Ukrainian court ruling on seizing lighthouses belonging to the BSF. Russia stated that Ukrainians may not step onto its bases without permission. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry described the Russian obstruction as a "disregard for Ukrainian legislation and international agreements".
- On April 16, 2013, a "high-ranking Russian Defense Ministry official" complained to Interfax that "Ukraine's stubborn position" was slowing the cancellation of customs payments (for the fleet) and that Ukraine still upheld (former) Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's 2008 decrees that banned the "relaxed procedure" of BSF formations crossing the Ukrainian border.
- Azov-Black Sea Flotilla
- Black Sea Fleet electoral district (Russian Constituent Assembly election, 1917)
- 1936 Montreux Convention governing the passage of military ships into the Black Sea
- Soviet Black Sea Fleet during the Battle of Stalingrad
- 5th Operational Squadron
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- (in Ukrainian) Holiday without brother: Sevastopol celebrated Navy Day Archived 2014-07-30 at the Wayback Machine, BBC Ukrainian (28 July 2014)
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- "Three latest frigates Admiral Gorshkov class of Project 22350 will join the Russian Navy Pacific fleet". Navy Recognition. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Black Sea fleet of Russia.|
- Russia – Ukraine Lease agreement
- Unofficial site
- History of the Black Sea Fleet during WWII (in Russian)
- Narodny Oglyadach reports on morale situation in Russian naval base in Sevastopol
- КОРАБЛІ УКРАЇНСЬКОЇ ФЛОТИ (1917–1918 рр.) – Ukrainian Navy (1917–1918) (in Ukrainian)
- Ukrainian Navy: ferial excursions into the past and present
- Stratfor, Fwd:INSIGHT - RUSSIA - Black Sea Fleet focus & some sub issues - Stratfor discussion on Black Sea Fleet, 2011
- Ukraine – Historical Naval Flags (1918)