Ukrainian defense forces spotted atypical Russian activity in the Black Sea as Russia moved 20 navy ships to sea, aided by many auxiliary fleet vessels. Ukraine’s Southern Defense Forces spokeswoman Natalia Humeniuk said it on the national telethon on March 16.
“We are carefully monitoring the [Russian] naval group in the Black Sea and the enemy’s actions. Atypical activity and the number of ship grouping were recorded. Currently, there are 20 [naval] units in the Black Sea, including four missile carriers – one of which is underwater – 28 missiles, at most, can be equipped for launch,” she said adding that there also are many auxilliary ships.
Air raid alerts were declared all across Ukraine at about 9:05, although they were triggered by the activity of a Russian aircraft in Belarus, capable of carrying the Kinzhal missile that the Ukrainian air defenses cannot shoot down:
The Belarusian monitoring project Belaruski Hayun reports the takeoff of the Russian MiG-31K aircraft capable of carrying a Kinzhal missile from the Belarusian airfield Machulishchy at 9:00
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) March 16, 2023
Humeniuk said all the ships are scattered, so she suggested that the Russians may be trying to locate the wreckage of the downed American drone as Russia’s Security Council Secretary Patrushev said earlier.
MQ-Reaper US drone wreckage may never be recovered, White House spokesman John Kirby said (https://t.co/cGJfJpjTWo)
Meanwhile, Russia will attempt to retrieve the drone wreckage from the Black Sea, Russian Security Council Secretary Patrushev says (https://t.co/FezB26cOAj)
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) March 15, 2023
Humeniuk notes that the occupiers are trying to “cover the theater of naval operations in the Black Sea as much as possible and to hide their actions” from the Ukrainian defenders.
CNN says the Russians have reached the MQ-9 crash site in the Black Sea, according to two US officials. Senior officials at Russia’s Ministry of Defense ordered Russian fighter jets to harass a US drone over the Black Sea this week, according to two US officials familiar with the intelligence, CNN reported.