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British intel: Sevastopol missile strikes deal major blow to Russia’s Black Sea fleet

The Ukrainian attack on the Sevastopol shipyard has destroyed two key Russian warships, undermining Moscow’s Black Sea capabilities. This significantly affects Russia’s ability to strike further targets in Ukraine.
Sevastopol in Russia-occupied Crimea, where Ukraine hit two key Russian warships during its attack. Photo: screenshot from DeepStateMap
British intel: Sevastopol missile strikes deal major blow to Russia’s Black Sea fleet

During Ukraine’s attack on the Russia-occupied Sevastopol shipyard on September 13, Russia lost one of the Black Sea Fleet’s four cruise missile-capable submarines, the Rostov, which have played a major role in striking Ukraine and projecting Russian power across the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean. The UK Defense Ministry reported in its intelligence update on September 15

“In the early hours of 13 September 2023, multiple missiles struck the Sevmorzavod shipyard within Russia’s Black Sea Fleet (BSF) Sevastopol naval base. The landing ship Minsk and Kilo 636.3 class submarine Rostov-na-Donu were hit while undergoing maintenance in dry docks.

Despite the Russian Ministry of Defence downplaying the damage to the vessels, open-source evidence indicates the Minsk has almost certainly been functionally destroyed, while the Rostov has likely suffered catastrophic damage. Any effort to return the submarine to service is likely to take many years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

There is a realistic possibility that the complex task of removing the wreckage from the dry docks will place them out of use for many months. This would present the BSF with a significant challenge in sustaining fleet maintenance. The loss of Rostov removes one of the BSF’s four cruise-missile capable submarines which have played a major role in striking Ukraine and projecting Russian power across the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean.”

On 13 September, a Ukrainian military spy agency official, Andrii Yusov, confirmed that an overnight attack on the port of Sevastopol in Russian-occupied Crimea had struck the Russian Navy’s large landing craft, a submarine, port infrastructure, the shipyard.

A photo of the Russian Ropucha-class landing ship Minsk has been posted on the Crimean Telegram channel Krymskiy Veter. According to the Dutch open-source intelligence warfare research group Oryx, visual confirmation indicates that the Russian warship Minsk has been destroyed, not merely damaged. Thus, the Oryx experts conclude that the ship cannot be restored after a Ukrainian missile strike on 13 September.

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