23 February 2022






3 mins

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Moscow does not want a war in Europe amid rising tensions over Ukraine but demanded that the issue of Kyiv’s relationship with NATO be resolved in its entirety immediately. Speaking at a joint news conference on Tuesday 15th February, 2022 after talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Putin said Russia had been informed by Western powers that its neighbour would not join the transatlantic military alliance in the near future. But he warned that was not a satisfactory assurance.

Russia has massed more than 100,000 troops around Ukraine’s borders and is campaigning for security guarantees from the West including a guarantee that Kyiv will be prevented from ever joining NATO’s ranks, despite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pushing for it to do so. “We need to resolve this question now … [and] we hope very much our concern will be heard by our partners and taken seriously,” Putin told reporters in Moscow.

But the Russian Navy build up in the Black Sea now appears largely complete. More warships may arrive in the next few days, but the core is already in place. Russia has deployed key naval assets, thousands of miles from their bases in the Arctic and Pacific, to positions near Ukraine.

In the Mediterrean Sea, more naval forces are ready. These can be viewed as an outer layer of defence, primarily against NATO involvement.

Courtesy of Naval News.

Black Sea Fleet has been bolstered with more than 6 amphibious landing ships and units from the Arctic, Baltic, Pacific and Caspian.

127 RFS MINSK back to 20th October 2017 offshore Sicily.

Thursday 17th February Russia appeared to pre-position two repair ships, one either side of Crimea. The Project 304 Amur Class repair and depot ships perform urgent repairs on the high seas. In essence, combat repairs. This is not a capability which is ordinarily needed during drills.

Amur Class PM 56 crossing the Bosphorus back to 5th May, 2013. Images by Mrs Eser Tayar Celebiler

Other Russian warships and auxiliaries are positioned west of Crimea, near the Ukrainian coast. These are likely to include the Admiral Grigorovich Class frigate RFS ADMIRAL ESSEN 751 and other naval units which also includes the Project 862/II Yug Class survey ship DONUZLAV which appears to be being used for intelligence gathering (AGI)

Below images of Yug Class GIDROLOG approaching Grand Harbour, Malta back to 27th March, 1995.

745 RFS ADMIRAL GRIGOROVICH entering Grand Harbour, Malta last 24th May, 2016.

Meanwhile the Northern Fleet flagship Slava Class cruiser 055 MARSHAL USTINOV reached the Mediterranean Sea on 6th February and yesterday Tuesday 22nd February she was spotted off Crete.

While her 1982 built 115.5 metres support tanker VYAZMA is currently berthed at Limassol, Cyprus which entered today at 0658 hrs UTC.

The largest surface naval unit currently in the Black Sea is the Slava Class cruiser 121 RFS MOSKVA which is Black Sea Fleet flagship. Built during the Cold War the Slavas are armed with powerful P-1000 Vulkan long-ranged supersonic anti-ship missiles. The Vulkan missiles are the most visible weapon, carried in ginormous tubes along each side of the ship. But there are few targets for these in the Black Sea. Hidden beneath the decks are S-300F air-defense missiles. The ship’s S-300F missiles will be able to penetrate Ukrainian airspace in areas not covered from land. Together with land-based S-400 missile they provide layers of defense to other warships performing combat duties.

Back in Malta in September, 2004.

They are supported by 4 Improved Kilo Class Submarines of which previously been active off Syria, where they launched cruise missiles. Each submarine can only carry a few Kalibr cruise missiles, but it offers a first-night strategic strike capability. Some of these subs have been observed loading cruise missiles in recent weeks.

Watermarked Photos are by Capt. Lawrence Dalli otherwise stated. Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos –

Published – Wednesday 23rd February, 2022

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Watermarked Photos are by Capt. Lawrence Dalli otherwise stated. NO PHOTOS can be used or manipulated without our permission.
© All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos –