Russia's Invasion 'Undermined by Dated Intelligence, Poor Planning'—U.K.

Russia will try to target Ukraine's anti-ship capabilities because it views them as hampering its Black Sea Fleet, however Moscow's attempts are being held back by old intelligence and poor planning, according to the U.K's Ministry of Defense.

The strike by Russian cruise missiles on the dock-side in the Black Sea port of Odessa on Saturday provoked global outrage as it came only hours after Russia and Ukraine agreed a deal to allow the passage of Ukrainian grain. Russia's Defense Ministry said that the strikes had destroyed a Ukrainian military vessel and arms delivered by Washington, although this has not been independently verified.

On Tuesday, British defense officials said that Moscow "almost certainly" views Ukrainian anti-ship missiles "as a key threat which is limiting the effectiveness of their Black Sea Fleet."

"This has significantly undermined the overall invasion plan, as Russia cannot realistically attempt an amphibious assault to seize Odessa," the U.K. Ministry of Defense said in its daily assessment on Tuesday.

Odessa, Ukraine
A man jogs past a cloud of smoke from a fire in the background after a missile strike on a warehouse of an industrial and trading company in Odessa on July 16, 2022. The British Ministry of Defense said on July 26, 2022 that Russia would continue to target anti-ship missile piles which it views as a threat to its Black Sea Fleet. OLEKSANDR GIMANOV/Getty Images

It added that Russia will continue "to prioritize efforts to degrade and destroy Ukraine's anti-ship capability," although its ability to hit such targets is "likely routinely undermined by dated intelligence, poor planning, and a top-down approach to operations."

Newsweek has contacted the Russian Defense Ministry over the daily assessment from the British defense establishment which tends to focus on Moscow's military shortcomings and emphasizes Ukrainian gains in the war.

Although Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the strikes on Odessa showed Moscow could not be trusted to keep its promises, Ukraine's Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrako said that the first vessels with grain could leave its Black Sea ports "within days" as long as "the sides guarantee security."

It is hoped that the U.N.-brokered deal, of which Turkey was one of the guarantors, will ease food shortages and price rises, especially in Africa. Around 20 million tons of grain are estimated to be stranded—blamed by Kyiv on Russia blocking the ports.

Meanwhile, a fire broke out overnight Monday at an oil depot in the Moscow-backed separatist-held city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, according to Russian news agencies.

Ukraine has destroyed a number of ammunition and fuel depots within Russian-held territory, thanks to U.S.-supplied weapons, such as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

On Monday, the United Nations human rights office, the OHCHR, said in its latest update that since the war started on February 24, 5,237 civilians have been killed, including 348 children. Its latest figures said that 7,035 civilians had been injured.