Vladimir Putin’s annual Navy Day parade looks impressive from the banks of St Petersburg’s Neva river; it looks even better on state TV.
No expense spared when it comes to showing the people of Russia quite how big and shiny their navy and armed forces are.
Think back to April though and the loss of the Moskva – the flagship warship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.
A direct hit Ukraine’s defence ministry said; a fire onboard according to Russia.
A significant blow both to Russia’s prestige and its Black Sea capabilities. Nor is it the only loss for the Black Sea fleet, against a Ukrainian navy massively diminished since the annexation of Crimea and largely barricaded inside its ports, just like its commercial shipping.
The Black Sea blockade has been a major strategic win for Russia, forcing Ukraine to mine itself in.
Stasis at Ukraine’s ports has left huge swathes of the world without grain, most significantly, but also fertiliser, sunflower oil and a host of other exports which would have brought much needed cash into the Ukrainian economy…