That Sinking Feeling: Ukraine’s Naval And Coastal Forces

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That Sinking Feeling: Ukraine’s Naval And Coastal Forces

Ukrainian naval parade in Odessa

Written by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

“De-Communization”

In few areas are Russia’s and Ukraine’s divergent fortunes as evident as in naval armaments. Whereas the Russian Navy has overcome the malaise of the 1990s and went on to introduce new classes of warships, including state-of-the-art missile frigates, attack submarines, and the mysterious “Poseidon-carriers”, Ukraine has gone in the opposite direction, in spite of having begun in roughly the same shape and in possession of the Nikolayev Shipyard, where all manner of ships up to and including aircraft carriers were built. The never-finished Slava-class guided missile cruiser Ukraina that is still slowly disintegrating at that shipyard has come to symbolize not only the fate of Ukraine’s navy but the country itself.

The fleet’s flagship Hetman Sahaydachny, a former Soviet maritime border guard frigate, has seen considerable time underway in better times, even participating in multinational anti-piracy missions off the Horn of Africa. After 2014, its condition rapidly declined even though it nominally participated in Sea Breeze exercises with NATO as late as 2018. While it is currently officially being refitted with new electronic equipment and is scheduled to return to active service in 2021, the ship’s future is still in doubt. While there was some discussion concerning the construction of a squadron of 2,000 missile corvettes fitted with both Western and Ukrainian weapons and electronics, for understandable reasons that project never progressed very far. Ukraine and United States have reportedly held discussions on the acquisition of one or two Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates but, even if these elderly ships were to be transferred to Ukraine for free, the country would still face massive problems trying to crew and operate them, due to the systems and weapons not being compatible with anything else currently in use by Ukraine. Moreover, the Perries were designed as low-cost anti-submarine escorts for use in the Atlantic, and are suitable for operations close to hostile coastlines where their weak anti-air and anti-surface weaponry becomes a liability.

Thus the future of Ukraine’s navy as a blue-water force looks fairly bleak, with no modern vessels in service or projected for acquisition. That state of affairs appears to satisfy the official Kiev, under whose leadership the navy became more of a littoral, coastal force whose main areas of interest are offshore economic zones of the Black Sea and the efforts to control the Sea of Azov.

Mosquito Fleet

While the phrase “mosquito fleet” originated in Great Britain during World War 2 as a description of Royal Navy’s vast force of motor torpedo- and gun-boats, Ukraine’s media has attached it on more than one occasion to the lackluster collection of small craft in use by Ukraine’s naval forces. Even though fast attack craft inherited from USSR have fared little better than the larger ships, here at least there are replacement ships being built and procured.

The best known of these “mosquitoes” are the Gyurza-M armored gunboats that, so far at least, proved to be less than impressive. Armed with two remote-control weapons stations with 30mm cannon and anti-tank guided missiles, their effectiveness is badly limited by low seaworthiness. Two of them were captured by Russia’s coast guard during an unsanctioned and unsafe attempt to cross under the Kerch Bridge and reach Mariupol. Twenty of these vessels were planned, but it doesn’t look as if that number will be reached. Instead, Ukraine’s attention has moved on to other, possibly more dangerous vessels.

That Sinking Feeling: Ukraine’s Naval And Coastal Forces

Detained Ukrainian ship in the port of Kerch

The Centaur class is slightly smaller than the Gyurza-M, at 47 tons versus 54 tons, but it is significantly faster, with the claimed top speed of 50 knots being twice of that of the Gyurzas. And even though the armament of heavy machine guns and automatic grenade launchers, backed by 80mm rocket pods, seems less impressive, their “business end” is a platoon of 28 soldiers these boats can carry.

Combined with the Mark VI patrol boats that Ukraine is procuring from the United States, which are a lightly armed but very fast boats also capable of carrying troops, Ukraine’s navy appears to be acquiring the ability to launch surprise amphibious raids of up to battalion of light infantry in strength, once the fleet of these boats grows in size in the coming years. While certainly not a major force in absolute terms, it is just enough to exert pressure on DPR’s southern flank that rests on the Sea of Azov coastline. Eight Centaurs are reported as planned, and the first two boats are undergoing sea trials.

Poor Man’s Tomahawk

Complementing Ukraine’s naval strike and raiding ability is the Neptun anti-ship missile derived from Russia’s Kh-35 Uran, though with significant differences and possibly also collaboration with Turkey which is developing its own Harpoon-based anti-ship cruise missile at the same time, and/or with assistance from other NATO member states. The Neptun has passed a number of tests, including one live-fire one against a simulated naval target, and appears to be meeting its development goals without major problems. The missile’s size means it theoretically could arm Ukrainian navy’s still-extant post-Soviet surface ships, but their age and lack of replacement means that it is more likely to see service as a coast artillery weapon which could readily provide Ukraine with some serious firepower in the Sea of Azov.

That Sinking Feeling: Ukraine’s Naval And Coastal Forces

Click to see the full-size image

The Neptun is described as able to strike both naval and land targets, suggesting a combination of active radar guidance combined with GPS. If deployed in land-based form on the shores of Sea of Azov, it could be used to shut down large swaths of the Sea of Azov under the guise of live-fire exercises. But arguably the worst-case scenario is the use of the missile against the Kerch Bridge, which is located within the 300km range of the Ukraine-controlled Azov coastline. One can readily imagine an MH17-style scenario in which a Ukrainian missile strikes and damages the bridge, with the attack then being attributed—with full NATO support—to a training accident or even a “Russian missile”. It would also not be an easy attack to respond to, as it would require Russian military strikes against targets on Ukraine’s territory that would elicit highly predictable NATO reaction. It would also be a difficult attack to defend against, requiring the deployment of anti-missile weapons like the Pantsir-S and Tor which might not guarantee protection against a surprise attack by a highly subsonic, sea-skimming missile relying on GPS or even simply inertial guidance and not advertising own presence by radar emissions.

Moreover, Neptun will give Ukraine the ability to launch relatively precise missile strikes against high-value targets in DPR/LPR. In combination with the Vilkha rocket system and the Grom short-range ballistic missile, this weapon is part of Ukraine’s emerging deep-strike missile arsenal.

That Sinking Feeling: Ukraine’s Naval And Coastal Forces

Click to see the full-size image

Conclusion

The abortive Gyurza-M raid into the Sea of Azov and the NATO’s unwillingness to become directly embroiled in the Sea of Azov conflict do  not mean we have seen the last of the provocations. Bolstered by US financial and material assistance, Ukraine is building up offensive capabilities for use in the littoral regions of that body of water. While its military capabilities are not in the same league as Russia’s, Ukraine’s growing ability to launch high-speed naval raids and long-range missile strikes represents a more difficult challenge to counter than its deteriorating land forces.

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  • Ger

    Assumes no one is shooting back?

  • occupybacon

    Or Russia will hit the Kerch bridge to acuse Ukraine. Just in case some protests start in Moscow, to distract public attention.

    • Lone Ranger

      Projecting much…?

      • occupybacon

        I’m a projector.

        • Lone Ranger

          Indeed

    • HiaNd

      You are confusing Russia with USA and yours very long tradition of the false flag attacks including 9/11. You have even kill your own president.
      No need to go further in examples.

      • occupybacon

        Ohh I killed my own president, you found me! Or you are one of those slaves that lick authority ass and believe it’s a collective sin to revolt against your government. Obey slave, your kind like to live in your knees, four legs, bend over, spread your ass with both hands, your president wants to penetrate your slave ass.

        • HiaNd

          Well you all did kill your own president and the best proof for that is that you still didn’t discover who did it.
          And the fact that you didn’t ask yourselves that crucial question (being zombified morons nation) is the reason why you had 9/11 also.
          Those who killed JFK and RFK did 9/11 as well and they are now destroying USA openly.

          • occupybacon

            Why should I discover who killed him if I killed him. But wait a sec.. did I have 9/11, I didn’t make 9/11 myself?

          • HiaNd

            So they tell me you are Bulgarian… are you?

          • occupybacon

            They, who? The voices?

          • HiaNd

            So you are Bulgarian for sure.
            For the Amuricant would be an insult to call him “Bulgarian”.

          • occupybacon

            Ok, anything but muzik or moscal is fine.

    • Ilya

      Protests? What, of 1000 people?! Russians have been bread propaganda for a century, they are fairly immune.

      They know how to take it, and they know how to ignore it.

      • occupybacon

        For how long the fear can keep people at home? Revolutions are imprevisible. Like in Ukraine.

        • Ilya

          Thanks for the French word!

          Russians don’t want revolution, they suffered enough. My great-great-grand parents were all shot in them,my great grandparents were orphans. Then the wars.y great grandparents lost half their parents, and suffered from that.

          Russians rember suffering, all they want is peace. Revolution is half a century away from their mindset, even if pushed.

          And who would they revolt against? The Atlanticists. Certainly not Putin and his world view – we see him as sharp, intelligent, wise, and honest.

          I live in London, and read enough MSM to understand that the citizenry of Europe and the US are wising up and gaining a mindset more similar to that of the Russians.

          Hopefully soon enough.

          • HiaNd

            Too late for the “the citizenry of Europe and the US”.
            Civil war like riots ahead, for already well known reasons.

          • occupybacon

            Well, Nikita Kruschev said USSR will catch up with US economy by 1965 and guess who is no more :)

            Actually USSR was built on the hopes that the West will fall soon.

            So I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you. All I can say is that revolutions are invevitable both in Russia and West. But we don’t know when or how they will look.

          • Ilya

            But just because one group/person made an error, doesn’t mean others will..

            I don’t like speculating though, it’s a waste of time mostly.

            But it must be visible that the US is not an Empire/ideology at its top, and also not heading up.. Failure to produce functional weapons, failure to provide for its workers.. So much to criticise..

            I’m not holding my breath, I did in 2018, but learnt that empties collapse slowly, in human time.

            I do agree Russia is bound for tyranny, because they do not have semi-direct democracy, a system where the leaders check the citizenry, and the citizenry checks the leaders.

            But whether this is Putin’s failure I don’t know. Any level of direct democracy is frowned upon by leaders gnererally, Putin included, sadly.

          • occupybacon

            What happened in 2018 that made you hold your breathe?

          • John Wallace

            Interesting that you use Kruschev who grew up in Donetks and after the war became the First Secretary Of Ukraine and who handed Crimea from Russia too Ukraine in 1954. He actually tried to operate in peaceful co operation with the West.. The man who was one of the few top dogs too survive Stalin’s purges because Stalin thought he was too dumb to be of a risk too him. He actually assisted in the purges .

          • occupybacon

            Anything that make moscals behave, killing their parents and children is the only quality these troglodites respect in a leader.

          • John Wallace

            :-) Not sure if they would appreciate being called Troglodytes but yes Russians do love a strong leader. There are even those that want Stalin back which I am not sure shows what .. I know in Ukraine when Russia pulled back after the wall incident Stalin’s statue was the first thing to be destroyed which is very understandable considering what he did to them..

    • Trauma2000

      Will, U.$.A. hit the Twin Towers… bay of pigs, gulf of Tonkin, U.$.$. Liberty in Egypt, IED’s in IRAQ (remember the dozen or so U.K. SAS nabbed setting road side bombs to hit their own troop convoy), IsraHell colonel nabbed ’embedded with the Terrorists’ in Syria. etc etc. Bummer man, so many false flags committed by ZioNATO that I don’t have time to list them all.. Oh wait, Covid-19 from Fort Detrich, that’s the funny one; backfired big time and destroying U.$. Oh, and Novichok that can’t kill anyone, not even kittens living in the same house as the ‘chemical weapon’ for a week. Yeah, False Flags are fun, until they backfire.

      • occupybacon

        You forgot the fake launch of the Musk DragonX

        • JIMI JAMES

          You mean FAKE X DRAGON.

          • occupybacon

            And the fake electruc cars, evey Russian knows wagons are proppeled by horses and asses.

      • AlexanderAmproz

        The False flags have an intentional boomerang impact
        to boost repression….

        ============================================
        https://www.globalresearch.ca/product-uk-foreign-policy/5718308

        The UK Reading Stabbings: Al Qaeda LIFG Terrorists Supported by UK. Product of British Foreign Policy

        By Tony Cartalucci

        Global Research, July 12, 2020

        Region: Europe

        Theme: History

        It should surprise no one paying attention that the suspect in the recent stabbing spree in Reading, UK was not only known to British security agencies as an extremist and security threat, but that he comes from the pool of extremists the British aided Washington in funding, arming, training, and providing air support for during the 2011 overthrow of the Libyan government and have harbored before and ever since.

        The London Guardian in its article, “Libyan held over Reading multiple stabbing ‘known to security services’,” would admit:

        The suspect in an alleged terror attack that left a teacher and two others dead was known to security services and other authorities, it emerged on Sunday.

        Khairi Saadallah, the 25-year-old Libyan refugee held over the stabbings in a Reading park, was on the radar of MI5 in the middle of last year, sources told the Guardian.

        Saadallah joins a long and growing list of extremists – and in the UK’s case, Libyans specifically – who have carried out attacks in the UK after receiving political and material support from Western governments in proxy wars waged across the globe.

        The 2017 Manchester Arena bombing killing 23 and injuring over 800 was also carried out by Libyans Salman and Hashem Abedi, also extremists long known to British security agencies.

        The London Guardian in its article on the Manchester bombing titled, “Salman Abedi: from hot-headed party lover to suicide bomber,” would report:

        Quite when Abedi’s aggressive tendencies acquired an ideological bent is difficult to establish, but it has emerged that he travelled to Libya as a 16-year-old in 2011 to join the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and fight alongside his father in the battle to oust Gaddafi.

        His father was a prominent member of the militia, which was banned in the UK because of its jihadi links.

        Despite terrorists from LIFG still carrying out terrorism to this day the US and UK have both removed the group from their lists of terrorist organizations.

        The Western media admits that LIFG was involved in fighting and toppling the Libyan government in 2011 and admits they provided weapons to fighters in Libya as well as granted them asylum after Libya collapsed into disarray in the wake of US-led regime change.

        US Senators would even shower awards and support on senior LIFG leaders after the fall of the Libyan government – including Abdelhakim Belhaj who served as “emir” of LIFG and who would at one point lead what was left of Libya after 2011.

        Western newspapers regularly admit that Western security services are fully aware of LIFG members living within the borders of their respective nations – having deliberately provided them asylum there.

        It takes little imagination to predict tragedies resulting from the West’s policy of creating extremists, deploying them in proxy wars abroad, and then placing them amongst their own populations at home.

        It was predicted long before the first US and British bombs dropped on Libya that their war of aggression against the North African nation would spread terrorism across the Middle East and North African region (MENA) as well as flood Europe with both refugees fleeing the catastrophe and extremists deliberately created by Western interventionism.

        It is so predictable – in fact – that incidents like the Manchester Arena bombing or the Reading stabbings in Reading should be interpreted as deliberate by the British government – who like its American counterparts – readily uses extremists as armed proxies abroad and as an omnipresent threat at home justifying a growing police state while dividing and distracting the public.

        Narrative management in the UK seeks to turn the stabbings into an issue surrounding race, religion, and social conditions when in reality the murders are a direct and deliberate product of the UK’s foreign policy and those responsible reside in London, Washington, and Brussels, not in mosques or in the pages of the Qu’ran.

        To call it “blowback” is not accurate since blowback implies the consequences were somehow unpredictable or undesirable. It is inconceivable that the British government believes harboring thousands of terrorists within its borders will not result in terrorism.

        It harbors these terrorists in order to cultivate and deploy them in future proxy wars and in the meantime prevents them from being liquidated abroad when targets of Western aggression get the upperhand.

        To solve the problem of extremism the Western public must focus on the deliberate foreign policy creating it – not on the social, religious, and racial excuses used to cover it up and to distract away from it.

        Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

        Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

        Featured image is from NEO

        Manchester Alleged Suicide Bomber Linked to Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Known to British Security & Intelligence. LIFG was Supported by NATO against Gadaffi

        The original source of this article is Global Research

        https://www.globalresearch.ca/product-uk-foreign-policy/5718308

    • Wayne Nicholson

      have you not been following the state of the art of false flags? Why blow up a brand new, very expensive bridge when all they have to do is get a couple of gallons of bleach and stage a chemical attack on a village in the Crimea?

      • occupybacon

        Because in case of a massive protest at home, a bleach attack in Crimea wouldn’t justify a bloody repression, maybe?

        • Wayne Nicholson

          All you have to do is call it a chemical weapons attack or WMD and everyone in the west recoils in revulsion. They don’t know the difference between that smell you get when you piss in a toilet being cleaned and Sarin gas. Even today you mention Assad and you get the standard “he gassed his own people” knee jerk reaction.

          If Putin decided to invade the Ukraine tomorrow the “massive protest” would consist of anyone the US embassy could afford to pay to hold up plackards. Putin wouldn’t bother with all of the Ukraine either …. he’d stop at the Dnieper and let the USA support the rest.

          • occupybacon

            They have the MSM that creates maihem. If I tell something like this to a westerner I don’t get any reaction. But if I tell the same thing to a Ruskie you scream like I penetrated your arse with a 10 feet pole so here’s the fun.

  • johnny rotten

    Funny, the NaziFags do not need real weapons, it is enough for them to dream of glory, stuffed with vodka they are able to talk about their future victories, even if to buy drugs and alcohol they have to sell all military equipment, and every morning they wake up with a dry throat and a great headache.

    • Lone Ranger

      I always thought that Americants are the most delusional people but no.
      Its the ukropnazis.

    • JIMI JAMES

      Many prefer their women to tickle their cakeholes,had some divorcees who offered me the priviledge,if I accept,wtf?’Thanks but no thanks,Not me,don’t break any vow like the ex gimp’

  • Lone Ranger

    Ukropisstan is a failed state.
    They will balkanize within 5-10 years.
    If they dare to fire a single Neptune missile at any Russian target than this timespan will be shortened to around 72hours ;)

    • occupybacon

      Awww Russia shitting bricks when a small neighbour country dares to have missiles.

      • Lone Ranger

        Nobody is afraid.
        Ukraine aint small.
        Ukropnazis only should be aware of the consequences…

        • HiaNd

          Muricans hate to be second in anything.

          They’ll make effort to surpass Ukropnazis for sure.

          • FlorianGeyer

            ‘ Muricans’ are even second in line with the abused children that Epstein blackmailed them with.

            The jew paedos get the kids first.

          • HiaNd

            Yeah but that is misunderstanding for simple reason :
            “America first!” was just short version of the slogan “America first, after the Israel and all the Jews wherever they are!”
            People make a short version very often into usual “America first!”

            So many have jumped on wrong conclusion about who is first really.

            As for pedos … they have brought us LGBTQ+60 genders for reason… as foreplay for pedos “coming out” and being accepted so that zoophilia, necrophilia and even more “exotic”,Khabal like satanic activities can cue in for “coming out” in the future.
            So everything is nice and dandy.

        • occupybacon

          Brrr guess who is shitting bricks every time when in a neighbouring country is a protest :)

          • Lone Ranger

            U.S. and Ukraine these days…

          • occupybacon

            Wow a protest in Mexic! Trump is scared… Ohh a protest against Putin, Ukrainians shit bricks… Not very bright, as usual.

          • Lone Ranger

            Southern wall… Along Mexico…
            And Mexico will pay for it…
            Ukropnazis indeed shit bricks, only cowards behave like them, but as thd saying goes…. the wicked flee when non pursue…

          • FlorianGeyer

            Trump used circa 650 million USD stolen from the sequestered Venezuelan money in US banks to build a section of the his wall.

          • Lone Ranger

            He likes to use the money of other people…

          • FlorianGeyer

            Its cheaper that way :)

          • occupybacon

            Lil Putin got scared by yellow vests in Paris: ‘we don’t want that to happen here’

          • Lone Ranger

            Who wants soros funded braindead marxists on their streets.
            Its not about being scared but common sense.

          • occupybacon

            Yellow vests are protesting against globalists like Soros and Macron. All MSM is against them, don’t be lazy, Ivan, watch RT at least.

          • Lone Ranger

            They are too organized not to be CIA or Soros funded.
            I haven’t seen anyhing negative from MSM about them.
            Same as BLM or Antifa.

          • occupybacon

            So against who did yellow vests protested?

          • Lone Ranger

            The govt.
            If you havent noticed globalists want to overthrow ecery govt they can.
            Doesnt matter left or right.
            You know their motto ordo ab chao…
            I hate macaroni by the way.

          • occupybacon

            Macron is a globalist. Wait. You hate any protest don’t you?

          • Lone Ranger

            I dont hate it if its legit.
            Yellow wests are not.
            You think globalists have no factions?
            Dog eats dog…

          • occupybacon

            And what were the interest of globalists in overthrowing Macron?

          • Lone Ranger

            Thats a good question.
            If I had to guess, he wants to leave NATO, which is a globalist organisation.
            That could be one reason.

          • occupybacon

            Macron to leave nato wow that’s a new one, did he also denied moon landing?

          • Lone Ranger

            Not yet…
            He said nato is braindead and EU needs a new military lead by France and Germany.

          • occupybacon

            Ahh I remember that. French are renoun for making bold affirmatons but not acting according to them. He also said that he would intervene with military to save the burning Amazon forest which made Brazil rising an ellbow. Anyway that declaration was made after the yellow vests started to protest and that was because of a green tax, well known as globalist agenda.

          • Lone Ranger

            Cant confirm nor deny.
            Havent checked the calendar.
            Maybe its only infighting.
            Or they knew in advance from his plans.

          • occupybacon

            You just hate the colir yellow, don’t you?

          • Lone Ranger

            That must be it…

          • occupybacon

            Ohh c’mon you like this handsome boy, Macron, don’t you?

          • Lone Ranger

            Not really.
            He is a bankster boy.
            But there can be always worse.

          • Jets

            Yaaaaaaaaaawn, boring, snoring, zzzzzz

      • Jets

        Yaaaaaaaaaawn, boring, snoring, zzzzzzzz.

  • HiaNd

    R-360 Neptune is the answer why Turkey suddenly has domestically produced anti-ship missile.
    All Ukraine knows is how to sell Soviet know how and Soviet blue prints.
    Chinese have bought from them everything that was worth buying.
    And not only Chinese.

    • Ivan Freely

      Eventually the Ukies are going to run out of things to sell, if they haven’t already.

      • Gary Sellars

        They still have their women and children, at least for now….

  • AM Hants

    Back in 2014 or was it 2015, after the cauldrons, old Porkie, with a lot of help from UK marines, was focused on naval training. Ribs and divers, so come to mind. Didn’t Azov have their HA based in Odessa, specifically for the purpose of those who could creep ashore? Didn’t work then and 6 years later, still not hopeful.

    • FlorianGeyer

      The article states:- ” Thus the future of Ukraine’s navy as a blue-water force looks fairly bleak,”.

      I would agree with that and add that the Ukranian Navy is no more than a ‘ Bathtub Navy, AM. :)

      • AM Hants

        Do you remember all the rust buckets in Crimea. They are so damaged, they cannot even get them back to Ukraine.

        There again, UK navy is not that much better.

  • Black Waters

    Occupybacon –>> Ukrop who feeds from a bunch of pennys from the U.S gestapo.

    Sad dude indeed.

    • HiaNd

      I think he is Murican

      • Black Waters

        Even worst.

      • Harry Smith

        4 chances out of 5 – he is Bulgarian.

        • Black Waters

          He sounds like and Ukrop or muricunt brainwashed muppet.

          • Harry Smith

            He has some rational thinking so he may work for money, at my point.

        • HiaNd

          interesting….then I do overestimate Bulgarians

          • Harry Smith

            At my point he is a paid troll.

          • HiaNd

            They copy Israeli approach of using regular soldiers for daily trolling I suppose

  • HiaNd

    Ukies are the masters of the corruption and self destruction.
    When USSR have collapsed they have inherited absolutely what was the best of the Soviet military industry and industry in general.
    And they singlehandedly have destroyed all that industry and sold absolutely all soviet know how.
    Yet they are totally bankrupted country.
    When transit of Russian gas stops they are finished.

  • Trauma2000

    I am looking at the ‘military situation in Easter Ukraine’ https://southfront.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Ukraine_War_Map-768×866.jpg

    And wondering if this is a current map of the ‘war in Donbas’ as it stands now. What is the current ‘sepratist ‘land holding” as of today? I love maps and this is one of the first I’ve come across in quite a while and it is from 2019