UK vs Russia ship sizes: Who has a larger Navy?

Russia: Boris Johnson imposes sanctions amid Ukraine invasion

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Russia has been building up ships and personnel in the Black Sea, as it launched its first troops into the disputed territories of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine’s east. The huge build up from all sides has prompted widespread condemnation from Western allies, and sanctions are already being placed on President Putin’s Russian regime for their belligerent actions.

While an all-out war is not currently on the cards, allies have warned any further aggression from Russia will warrant further immediate and heavy-handed sanctions.

As well as the tens of thousands of troops placed along the land border between Russia and Ukraine, the Kremlin has also been bolstering its naval fleets in the Black Sea, which is largely being interpreted as preparation for all-out warfare.

Russia has one of the largest armed forces in the world, with around a million active-duty personnel, and some two million reserve personnel.

READ MORE: How the RAF compares to the Russian Aerospace Forces

What is happening in the Black Sea?

Russia has transferred cruisers, frigates and missile boats to the Black Sea from its Baltic and Northern fleets, along with submarines equipped with long-range Kalibr cruise missiles and a frigate carrying Zircon hypersonic missiles, according to former Ukrainian military officials.

The Kremlin has also sent additional land forces to its naval base on the annexed Crimean Penninsula.

Ukraine lost most of it modest naval fleet when Russia seized Crimea in 2014 and has few weapons and boats at hand to counter any Russian sea operations.

Oleksandr Shytenkov, a former Ukrainian navy captain who until last year served on the country’s naval command, said: “Everything that is happening now is a classic scheme for preparing for the outbreak of war. We are squeezed from all sides.”


Russia’s navy is enormous, and is second most powerful naval fleet in the world.

In terms of boats and ships, Russia has:

  • 1 Aircraft carrier
  • 2 Battlecruisers
  • 3 Cruisers
  • 10 Destroyers
  • 11 Frigates
  • 81-83 Corvettes
  • 21 Landing ship tanks (LST)
  • 40 Landing craft
  • 18 Special-purpose ships
  • 3 Patrol ships
  • 56 Patrol boats
  • 49 Mine countermeasures vessels
  • 12 Ballistic missile submarines 
  • 10 Cruise missile submarines 
  • 14 Nuclear Attack submarines 
  • 22 Diesel Attack submarines 
  • 12 Special-purpose submarines

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Royal Navy

The UK doesn’t even make the top ten when it comes to the size of its Navy, but it is ranked as the fifth most powerful in the world.

The Royal Navy has the following in its fleet:

  • HMS Victory – 1 ship of the line
  • 4 Ballistic missile submarines
  • 6 Fleet submarines
  • 2 Aircraft carriers
  • 2 Amphibious warfare
  • 6 Destroyers
  • 12 Frigates
  • 8 Offshore patrol
  • 11 Mine countermeasures
  • 18 Coastal & fast patrol
  • 5 Survey boats

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