Russia replaces navy chief sunk by Ukraine’s Black Sea campaign

Admiral Alexander Moiseyev replaces Nikolai Yevmenov amid Ukrainian campaign that has downed several vessels.

Admiral Alexander Moiseyev, the commander of Russia's Northern Fleet, speaks to journalists on the board of the Northern Fleet's flagship, the Pyotr Veilikiy (Peter the Great) missile cruiser at the Arctic base of Severomorsk, Russia
Admiral Alexander Moiseyev speaks to journalists in 2021 [Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Photo]

Russia has appointed Admiral Alexander Moiseyev as acting commander-in-chief of its navy after his predecessor was axed due to repeated hits on the Black Sea Fleet by Ukrainian attacks.

Moiseev, former commander of Russia’s Northern Fleet, was formally engaged in his new role at an official ceremony on Tuesday, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.

He replaces Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov. The 61-year-old had been in the post for nearly five years but was reportedly sacked after the losses of a string of warships.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy visit the newest frigate "Admiral of the fleet Kasatonov" on the occasion of a flag-raising ceremony for newly-built nuclear submarines at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk in Russia's Archangelsk region, Monday, Dec. 11, 2023. The navy flag was raised on the Emperor Alexander III and the Krasnoyarsk submarines during Monday's ceremony. Putin has traveled to a northern shipyard to attend the commissioning of new nuclear submarines, a visit that showcases the country's nuclear might amid the fighting in Ukraine. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, former commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy [Mikhail Klimentyev/AP]

The appointment of Moiseyev, also 61, marks the biggest shake-up in Russia’s military top brass since the sacking of aerospace force chief Sergey Surovikin last year.

Born in Kaliningrad, he graduated from a film college in the western Russian enclave, but made his career in the navy, serving on nuclear submarines for more than 29 years.


Ukrainian forces claim to have destroyed more than two dozen Russian ships since the conflict began in February 2022, In the most recent attack, a military patrol boat was sunk earlier this month.

The losses have been an embarrassment for Moscow, which has been forced to move ships from the Black Sea Fleet’s historic naval base in occupied Crimea’s Sevastopol east to the port of Novorossiysk.

The maritime military woes come in stark contrast to Russia’s land offensive in east Ukraine, where its forces have advanced in recent months after over a year of deadlocked fighting.

Warships of the Russian Black Sea fleet sail while taking part in naval drills in the Black Sea
In this photo released on July 21, 2023, warships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet sail while taking part in naval drills in the Black Sea [Handout/Russian Defence Ministry Press Service via AP]
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies