Report III – Ocean Shield 2023: The Baltic Fleet’s perspective (Free access)
In August 2023, the Russian Federation’s Baltic Fleet conducted the Ocean Shield naval exercise, which main part was held in the Baltic and Northern Seas. The exercise came at a time when the relationship between Russia and NATO countries was at its lowest. Concurrently, Moscow’s involvement in the war against Ukraine has had a negative impact on the country’s armed forces as a whole, including its naval component.
The Baltic Fleet, in particular, has had its capacities degraded. Three of its large landing ships had been deployed to the Black Sea prior to Russia’s attack on Ukraine on 22FEB2022, and due to the closure of the Bosphorus Strait for military traffic, they have not been able to return to their home parts of Baltyisk. Likewise, the Blactic Fleet’s 336th Naval Infantry Brigade suffered significant losses in the war, significantly degrading the fleet’s capacity for power projection.
The inclusion of Finland and probably Sweden into NATO means that the sea has effectively become a NATO-dominated theatre. It is in this context that Russia aspires to remain relevant in the Baltic Sea. Although, for the first time in 15 years, Russia did not conduct any command-staff exercise at home, the Ocean Shield 2023 attempted to showcase to NATO that Russia could still project its power across the Baltic Fleet and damage NATO’s potential in the region.
Rochan is very happy to present our analysis that looks at Russian maritime activities in the Baltic and North Seas during the exercise and our conclusions based on operations conducted by the Baltic Fleet in August.
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