File photo of Russian Black Sea Fleet submarines in Sevastopol, Crimea
File photo of Russian Black Sea Fleet submarines in Sevastopol, Crimea (Picture: Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov/Alamy Stock Photo).
Ukraine

Russia 'almost certainly' moved submarines out of Crimea base over fears of Ukraine attack

Russia's Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol has come under attack in recent months.

File photo of Russian Black Sea Fleet submarines in Sevastopol, Crimea
File photo of Russian Black Sea Fleet submarines in Sevastopol, Crimea (Picture: Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov/Alamy Stock Photo).

Russia has "almost certainly" relocated submarines based in the annexed Crimean Peninsula due to fears they could be hit by long-range Ukrainian fire, the Ministry of Defence has said (MOD).

The KILO-class submarines have likely been moved from Sevastopol to Novorossiysk in southern Russia, according to the MOD's intelligence update.

"This is highly likely due to the recent change in the local security threat level in the face of increased Ukrainian long-range strike capability", the MOD tweeted.

"In the last two months, the [Black Sea] fleet headquarters and its main naval aviation airfield have been attacked.”

The distance between Sevastopol and Novorossiysk is more than 300km. 

Ukraine has received international support in the form of training and weapons including from its UK allies.

In recent weeks Ukraine has made significant strategic gains, reclaiming territory in the east and south of the country. 

According to the MOD, guaranteeing the Russian Black Sea Fleet's Crimea basing was likely one of President Vladimir Putin's motivations for annexing Crimea in 2014.

"Base security has now been directly undermined by Russia's continued aggression against Ukraine," the MOD said.