Russia has appointed new commanders to head its Baltic and Pacific fleets. Admiral Viktor Liina, the former head of the Baltic Fleet, has been named as the new chief of the Pacific Fleet, while Vice Admiral Vladimir Vorobyov has been appointed as the commander of the fleet in the Baltics. The reshuffle comes after the surprise retirement of Sergei Avakyants, the previous head of the Pacific Fleet. Avakyants’ removal has been linked to the high losses suffered by parts of the fleet under his leadership in the war on Ukraine. The Pacific Fleet did not comment on the reshuffle.
Russia has four fleets, with the Northern Fleet being the largest, followed by the Pacific, Black Sea and Baltic fleets. Members of all four units are fighting in Russia’s war against Ukraine, mostly as marines. The US think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said that reports of Liina’s appointment coincided with the completion of drills by the Pacific Fleet in the Pacific under the supervision of Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov. The ISW previously assessed that Avakyants’ dismissal may have been a result of his inability to recreate pre-war, large-scale Pacific Fleet combat readiness checks due to the fleet’s significant combat losses in Ukraine.
Avakyants is to lead an organisation that oversees military training and patriotic education, according to state media reports.