Ukraine ‘Likely’ Hit Three Russian Ships in New Black Sea Fleet Assault

Ukraine ‘Likely’ Hit Three Russian Ships in New Black Sea Fleet Assault

Ukraine may have successfully targeted three Russian vessels in the Black Sea, an increase from the two landing vessels reported damaged on Sunday, according to Kyiv’s navy.

On Sunday, Kyiv said it attacked two of Russia’s large landing ships, the Yamal and the Azov, and a communications hub in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, as well as other unspecified infrastructure facilities. Open-source intelligence accounts and Russian military bloggers reported that Ukraine had used Western-supplied air-launched Storm Shadow and SCALP cruise missiles to strike the Crimean port.

A total of 18 missiles rained down on Sevastopol, and Russian air defenses intercepted 11 of the missiles, according to independent Russian outlet, Astra.

In an updated statement on Monday, Kyiv’s military intelligence agency said it had attacked one of Russia’s ship repair plants in Sevastopol, where the Yamal was docked. The landing ship is in a “critical” condition, with a hole in its upper dock, the GUR said in a statement.

“We can confirm that both landing ships were damaged,” said Captain Dmytro Pletenchuk, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s navy, according to Ukrainian media. “One of them immediately went for repair.”

Ivan Khurs intelligence ship
Russian Navy ship Ivan Khurs docked at Port Sudan on April 10, 2021. Kyiv is verifying whether the Ivan Khurs sustained damage in the weekend’s missile strikes on Sevastopol.

IBRAHIM ISHAQ/AFP via Getty Images

A third vessel may have been caught in the weekend’s attacks, Pletenchuk said. Kyiv is verifying whether Russia’s Ivan Khurs reconnaissance ship may have sustained damage on Saturday, Pletenchuk said. The vessel was “likely” damaged, the spokesperson told the United States-backed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Two missiles struck the Ivan Khurs, Astra reported, citing anonymous sources. Russian authorities in Crimea reported a “massive” missile strike on Sevastopol on Saturday night.

Newsweek reached out to the Ukrainian Navy and the Russian Defense Ministry for comment via email.

The extent of the damage to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet vessels is not clear, but the strikes nonetheless reflect a pattern of Ukrainian successes in targeting Russian assets around Crimea. Russia has controlled the peninsula for a decade, and its base at the port city of Sevastopol is one of its primary Black Sea Fleet facilities.

Ukraine has vowed to reclaim Crimea and has periodically launched drone and missile strikes that have whittled down Russia’s fleet around Crimea. Ukraine targeted the Ivan Khurs with drones in May 2023.

But Ukraine’s weekend strikes, “regardless of the extent of the damage caused, will likely continue to deter Russian forces from redeploying ships to Sevastopol,” the Institute for the Study of War think tank said on Sunday.

Ukraine’s attacks have shoved Russia’s Black Sea Fleet away from Sevastopol, with Moscow relocating assets to its Novorossiysk, a Black Sea port city perched in internationally-recognized Russian territory and, crucially, further away from Ukraine’s littoral waters.

Moscow is now far warier of keeping its newer, major vessels in Crimea, and has transferred several to Novorossiysk, retired Ukrainian Navy Captain Andrii Ryzhenko told Newsweek in early March.

Reports have also suggested the Kremlin is planning a new military base at the port of Ochamchire in Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia. This would put Russian Black Sea assets even further from Ukraine’s coastline.

The British Defense Ministry evaluated last week that Russia had likely restricted most of its operations to the eastern Black Sea. It said in a later assessment that Russia was making use of decoys at its Black Sea bases to deter Ukrainian drone and missile strikes.

Uncommon Knowledge

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