MOSCOW, September 25. /TASS/. The Ukrainian Navy’s operational exercise that began on Tuesday is of no operational interest to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, because all of the ships involved are small ones, a source in Crimea told TASS.
"Taking part in the exercise are small armored artillery boats of the Ukrainian Navy. It is held mostly within Ukraine’s territorial waters and is of no operational interest to the Russian Black Sea Fleet," the source said.
According to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s website, "a group of ships, boats and supply vessels left the port of Odessa for coping with initial combat tasks." The crews of small armored artillery boats will practice live fire at naval and coastal targets. Nothing is said about the functions of other ships involved.
Ukraine’s armored artillery boats Gurza are river class vessels capable of operating in the coastal zone. Formally, the Ukrainian Navy has six boats of this project. Two of them are currently held by Russia following the Kerch Strait incident in November 2018.
The term ‘mosquito fleet’ was coined during World War I, when large groups of gunboats carried out surprise attacks against enemy ships, planted mines, delivered landing parties and were commissioned to cope with other combat tasks.