Ukraine’s military claims it damaged a Russian warship docked in Crimea. The ship was among the targets of 15 cruise missiles launched this weekend toward the Butoma shipyard in the city of Kerch. Russian air defenses successfully shot down 13 of the missiles, the Kremlin claimed.
Kyiv has steadily increased its attacks on the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet, often targeting ships in port.
“Thank the Air Force tactical aviation pilots for the successful strikes by cruise missiles on the shipbuilding infrastructure of the Zaliv plant in Kerch, where one of the most advanced ships of the Russian Navy stood—the Kalibr cruise missile carrier,” Ukrainian Lt. Gen. Mykola Oleshchuk wrote Sunday on Telegram.
“Also, thanks to the anti-aircraft gunners of the east air command for the downed Iskanders flying in response,” Oleshchuk added.
According to satellite images posted online, the missile carrier Askold was seriously damaged at Butoma. Videos also showed a fire in the harbor.
Russia’s state-owned RIA Novosti confirmed that a vessel in the Kerch shipyard was damaged in the strike, but it did not identify the Askold.
A Kalibr Missile Carrier
The Askold is a Project 22800 Karakurt-class warship. This is a new class of Russian corvettes (small missile ships in Russian classification). The vessels started to enter service with the Russian Navy in 2018 as a more seaworthy, blue-water complement to the Buyan-M-class corvettes designed to operate in littoral zones. The small warships were also introduced as an affordable alternative to the larger Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates.
Project 22800 vessels are armed with Kalibr or Oniks anti-ship cruise missiles and have a reported endurance of 15 days. Sixteen in total have been planned, and four are currently active in addition to the Askold. Three of the vessels are being built at the Russian-occupied shipyard in Crimea.
The Askold, which was launched in September 2021, was not officially commissioned into the Black Sea Fleet. The Russian Ministry of Defense has not confirmed the extent of any damage from Saturday’s attack.
Targeting the Russian Black Sea Fleet
This is just the latest blow to the Russian Navy, and it follows a missile strike in September that destroyed the Black Sea Fleet’s headquarters in Sevastopol. The Kilo-class attack submarine Rostov-on-Don and the large landing ship Minsk were damaged by a combined cruise missile and drone strike on Sevastopol’s shipyard, in southern Crimea. Images shared online show the Minsk has been stripped of many of its parts, suggesting it was damaged beyond repair.
In April 2022 the Black Sea Fleet’s flagship, the guided-missile cruiser Moskva, sank after being hit by two Ukrainian land-based R-360 Neptune anti-ship missiles. It was the largest warship to be sunk in combat since the Second World War, and the largest loss of a military vessel since the Argentine Navy’s ARA General Belgrano (C-4) was torpedoed and sunk by the British nuclear-powered submarine HMS Conqueror (S48) during the Falklands War in May 1982.
The Moskva was also the largest Russian warship to be damaged by enemy fire since 1941, when German dive bombers crippled the Soviet battleship Marat in Kronstadt Harbor.
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A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.