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Russia to hold navy parade as Black Sea deal approaches

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Russia to hold navy parade as Black Sea deal approaches

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Russia has deployed its navy to blockade Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea | Photo: Olga Maltseva/AFP/Getty Images

Russia will hold its Main Naval Parade in St. Petersburg today in celebration of the Russian Navy.

Forty-seven combat ships, boats, and submarines of Russia’s Northern, Pacific, Baltic and Black Sea Fleets will participate in the parade on the Neva River and in the Kronshtadt roadstead. The event appears to be an attempt by Russian President Vladimir Putin to improve the image of the Russian navy, which has significantly retreated from the Black Sea following Ukraine’s defeat of Russian cruiser Moskva with anti-ship missiles on April 13.

NATO’s member nations have increasingly supplied anti-ship missiles to Kyiv to help diminish the pressure on Ukraine’s ports by Russian naval vessels, which have blocked harvested grain from leaving Ukraine and weaponized a global food shortage. The deal to release grain is expected to take effect soon, though recent Russian missile strikes on the port city of Odesa have led to uncertainty.

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If the deal does not go through, Ukraine may consider undertaking a naval convoy operation to export the grain. For its part, the Russian navy will prioritize seeking out and striking Ukrainian anti-ship missile systems, particularly Harpoon missiles, which are preventing Russian ships from reaching shore or launching an amphibious operation.

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