Russia is increasing pressure on Ukraine by transferring naval vessels from its Caspian Flotilla to the Sea of Azov, Russian military media has reported.
The pretext for this step is to strengthen the security of the newly-constructed Kerch bridge, linking occupied Crimea with southern Russia, defence responsibility for which was recently devolved to Russia’s National Guard internal military force.
The first vessels, transferred on 28 May from the Russian port of Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea, included two Project 1204 Shmel-class gunboats. Also transferred was a Project 1400M Zhuk coastal patrol craft.
On 1 June the first Sargan-class high-speed patrol boat, built at the shipyards in Feodosia, Crimea, passed sea trials and will shortly enter service in the Russian National Guard’s Southern District.
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