Putin's Black Sea fleet forced to U-turn and return to base after being hit by worst storm in 100 years

​Russian warship

Russian warships have been forced to dock due to the conditions

Dan Falvey

By Dan Falvey

Published: 28/11/2023

- 16:05

Updated: 28/11/2023

- 16:15

The change in weather conditions risks leaving the Ukraine war in stalemate until the spring

Vladimir Putin's Black Sea Fleet has been forced to return to its base after the worst storm in 100 years hit Ukraine, wrecking havoc on Russia's war efforts.

Giant waves and winds of up to 90mph have stuck in a major blizzard that has made it impossible for the ships to operate.

The entire Black Sea and the Sea of Azov has been deemed unsailable by the Russian navy.

The storm has killed at least 10 people and left hundreds of towns in Ukraine without power.

WATCH: New footage of blizzard in Russia

Nearly 2,500 people have also been rescued after the snowstorm hit the southern region of Odesa.

High winds have left drifting snow up to two metres deep in some places.

The weather has been dubbed as the "storm of the century" by both Ukrainian and Russian media.

Brutal winters in the region mean that there is far less chance of either Moscow or Kyiv breaking through in the war.


Crimea storm damage

Occupied Crimea has been battered by the weather conditions


\u200bUkraine snow rescue

Ukraine has been rescuing those stranded in Odessa by the storm


Ukraine had been eager to launch a "spring counter-offensive" earlier this year in order to try and push back Russian troops while weather conditions were better.

Now that the cold has settled in it is unlikely that any real change will be seen in the war until 2024.

The Institute for the Study of War think tank explained: "Challenging winter conditions will force both sides to rely more heavily on infantry-led ground attacks in the absence of aerial reconnaissance and artillery correction capabilities."

Colonel Oleksandr Shtupun, spokesman for Ukraine’s Tavriisk army group, said Russian drone attacks has decreased “by almost six times” due to the weather conditions.

The bad weather has also disputed Russia's ability to export oil from the region.

Up to two million barrels of oil exports per day risk being disrupted with no obvious end date to the poor conditions.

Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiysk is the largest Black Sea outlet for oil and products.

Two oil cargoes carrying 80,000 tons each were waiting for improved weather before sailing.

Both have been delayed for more than a week, the data shows, along with about 10 tankers yet to start loading.

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