Submariners from Russia’s Northern Fleet fight and fall in Ukraine

A significant number of sailors and submariners from the Northern Fleet are killed on the battlefields in Ukraine. (Collage by the Independent Barents Observer)

A significant number of sailors from the naval base towns in the Kola Peninsula are killed in Russia’s war of aggression.

Captain Yuri Dmitrievich Svedovoy often operated behind enemy lines and created fear among the Ukrainians. The enemy knew him, were afraid of him and hunted him, an article published on a Russian military website writes about the 32 year old military man that was killed in May 2022.

Yuri Svedovoy commanded a unit under the forces of the so-called Donetsk Peoples Republic and reportedly fought in Mariupol, Volnovakha, Marinka and Avdeevka.

But captain Svedovoy was first of all a sailor and expert on warfare in the Arctic. He used the call sign Polyarnik (Polar Explorer) and was trained at the 269th underwater Spetsnaz unit in Gadzhievo.

In the naval town located on the coast of the Barents Sea, Svedovoy got training in underwater special operations and sabotage.

He is one of a significant number of military men with background from the Northern Fleet that have gone to fight in Ukraine.

Some of them are described in a recent article in Northern Fleet newspaper Na Strazhe Zapolyaria.

“They cleverly and with a high level of professionalism execute their duties not only at sea, with the protection of the marine borders of the Motherland, but also voluntarily change their place of duty and with weapons in their hands stand up against Ukrainian neo-nazists on the frontline in the special military operation,” the propaganda-style article reads.

Most of the sailors have entered the ranks of infantry units.

“Among the sailors and submariners of the Northern Fleet is a considerable number of fellows that are fighting on the battlefield of the special military operations among infantrymen,” the newspaper reports.

Among the men described in the article are three men fighting under the call signs “Vulkan,” “Korsak” and “Baks.” They have all served in Gadzhievo and are shown on photos in front of a local city block.

Many of the sailors and submariners never make it back home.

A recent post in a social media channel operated from one of the north Russian naval towns honours ten local men killed in Ukraine. Among them is not only Yuri Svedovoy, but also Petr Naumov, a sailor that served in Zapadnaya Litsa and Aleksandrovsk, and Nikolai Popov. The latter in 2021 graduated from the Navy Academy in St.Petersburg and subsequently served on a mine sweeper in the Northern Fleet before he signed up for war in October 2023. He was reportedly killed on the 8th of March 2024 in battle on an island in the Dnepr river delta.

On the list is also Denis Vasilchenko, who served on submarines Yaroslavl and Kaluga, and Yuri Zhivaev, who reportedly also served on several Northern Fleet submarines.

The latter was based in the naval base of Polyarny and had served on contract onboard submarines since 2015. He signed up for war in Ukraine in May 2022 and was killed in March 2023.

The ten men honoured in the social media post are only a part of all the northern sailors killed.

In a comment to the post, a local woman underlines that “the list is not complete.”

The Barents Observer itself has the names of more than 30 killed men from the north Russian naval towns of Polyarny, Gadzhievo, Snezhnegorsk and Severomorsk. Not all of them served in the Northern Fleet before they joined the bloody war of aggression.

But they are all part of the drain of young Russian men perishing on the deathfields. The big number of killed soldiers is a catastrophe for their families and home towns, but also a major problem for the many military towns that are loosing many of their best men. That includes also the Navy towns of the Kola Peninsula.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: U.S. report claims Trudeau told NATO Canada will never meet military spending target, CBC News

Denmark: Danish policy prioritizes low-conflict Arctic amidst Russian tensions, Eye on the Arctic

FinlandNATO membership strengthens Arctic Security, deepens Canada ties: Finnish Ambassador, Eye on the Arctic

IcelandIceland authorizes U.S. submarine service visits, Eye on the Arctic

Russia: Russia starts Friday with large-scale air attack on Ukraine, Tu-95 bombers from Murmansk active, The Independent Barents Observer

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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