Desperate Putin using decoy paint to protect Black Sea fleet from Ukraine

Russia has been struggling to secure dominance over the Black Sea despite Ukraine not having a large conventional navy.

Kyiv’s forces have been skilled at using covert tactics combining drones, missiles and special forces to strike at the Russian Navy.

In response, the Russian military has looked to revive some decoys last used widely during the First World War in an attempt to save some of the Black Sea Fleet’s most prized warships from destruction.

Open-source intelligence researchers have learned by comparing old and current images that Russia has begun camouflaging ships with paint.

The aim of this ploy is to use irregular patterns and colours to break up the outline of the ship to make the vessel a less appealing target to Ukrainian naval drone operators.

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Sky News reports that Russia has repainted five ships of the Black Sea Fleet in the past two months so far including the flagship Admiral Makarov.

Pictures of Admiral Makarov show darker paintwork applied to the port and stern in an apparent attempt to disguise the size of the ship and cover vital areas such as the helipad.

In total, the Black Sea Fleet boasts 30 ships which until recently operated out of a base in Sevastapol.

However recent speculation points to Putin ordering the fleet out for Crimea as a result of recent Ukraine strikes on naval facilities on the occupied peninsular.

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Defence and security analyst Professor Michael Clarke told Sky News: “It’s sensible idea, but Russia didn’t think its fleet would be in that position. They’re having to go back to some old traditional methods.”

Ukraine has taken out the Black Sea Fleet headquarters building in Sevastopol with a strike using a Franco-British-made storm shadow missile.

Naval drones packed with explosives have also been used to target the Russian navy out at sea making effective use of the novel technology to sneak past the ship’s defences.

In response, Russia is reportedly seeking to set up a new naval base in Abkhazia the breakaway Georgian Russian on the Black Sea. which is backed by Moscow.

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