After maintaining the mystery for several months, the Kremlin decided to formalize, on Tuesday April 2, the appointment of a new commander for its Black Sea Fleet. Moscow has appointed “Vice Admiral Sergei Pinchuk to the post of commander of the Black Sea Fleet,” announced Sergei Shoigu, Russian Defense Minister, Tuesday April 2.

According to his biography published on the ministry’s website, Mr. Pinchuk was born in 1971 in Sevastopol, Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula annexed in 2014 by Russia. In 2011, he was promoted to commander of the Novorossiysk naval base in the Black Sea, before being entrusted, in 2016, with the reins of the Caspian Sea fleet.

On February 15, 2024, Russian military bloggers and an anonymous Defense Ministry source announced that Admiral Viktor Sokolov, who served as Commander-in-Chief of the Black Sea Fleet, had been dismissed. The Ukrainian army’s special services claimed on Telegram that Viktor Sokolov, commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and 33 other Russian officers were killed in the Ukrainian bombing of the Sevastopol headquarters on Friday, September 22.

Unlike Russian land forces, which regained initiative on the front in Ukraine, the Russian fleet had to withdraw to the Black Sea in view of multiple attacks by Ukrainian maritime drones and missiles. These attacks notably allowed kyiv to sink or damage numerous Russian ships and to reopen a maritime corridor to export its cereals.

Among their feats of arms since the start of the conflict, Ukrainian forces bombed, in September 2023, the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, more than a year after having succeeded in sinking the Moskva, the vessel admiral of the Russian fleet, in spring 2022.

New Russian Navy chief officially inducted

During this conference call with the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Sergei Shoigu confirmed by presidential decree the appointment of Admiral Alexander Moiseyev to the post of Commander of the Russian Fleet, replacing Nikolai Yevmenov, in office since May 2019 .

Admiral Alexander Moiseyev had been introduced as the “acting” command of the Russian fleet during a ceremony with submarine crews in the port of Kronstadt. On March 10, Russian media reported, citing anonymous sources, that Commander Nikolai Yemenov had been dismissed from his post by President Vladimir Putin and replaced by Mr. Moiseyev.

According to his biography on the Ministry of Defense website, Alexander Moiseyev, 61, a trained submariner, has led the Northern Fleet since 2019. Admiral Nikolai Yemenov has commanded the entire Russian fleet since May 2019. Before that, this former submariner had also been commander of the Northern Fleet.