Ukraine’s Naval Tactics Devastate Russia’s Black Sea Fleet: Losses Revealed
In less than two years, a significant number of Russia’s vessels have been taken out by the Ukrainian navy, resulting in a considerable blow to the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
Ukrainian forces have effectively utilized unmanned maritime drones and long-range anti-ship missiles to target and weaken Russia’s fleet, despite not having warships of their own.
In a public statement, Dmytro Pletenchuk, a spokesperson for the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, revealed that the Russian Navy possessed a considerable fleet of warships at the beginning of the invasion. This fleet included various types of vessels such as large warships, landing ships, submarines, patrol boats, and minesweepers.
According to recent updates, a significant number of vessels have been destroyed, with several more currently undergoing repairs.
The attacks have enabled Ukraine to resume the grain shipments through the Black Sea, which are crucial for its economy. Additionally, the Black Sea Fleet has been compelled to relocate warships away from Crimea, its highly valued naval homeport.
There are still unidentified ships that Ukraine claims to have destroyed, including Raptor-class patrol boats, a BK-16 high-speed assault boat, a Serna-class landing craft, and a Stenka-class patrol vessel, according to reports.
Launched in 1968, the Saratov is a formidable Alligator-class amphibious landing warship serving in the Black Sea Fleet. It was reactivated to facilitate the transportation of supplies and provide support for Russian military operations in Syria.
The vessel had the capacity to transport approximately 400 soldiers, along with either 20 main battle tanks or 45 armored vehicles.
During its time in occupied Berdiansk in Zaporizhzhia Oblast on March 24, 2022, the ship was allegedly sunk by Ukrainian forces using a Soviet Tochka-U short-range ballistic missile.
Regrettably, the Black Sea Fleet suffered a major setback with the sinking of the Moskva, a guided missile cruiser, on April 14, 2022. This event was significant as it was the first instance of a Russian flagship being sunk since the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905.
During the invasion, the Moskva played a crucial role by providing air cover for other warships and contributing to the capture of Snake Island in late February 2022.
Ukraine stated that they successfully targeted the cruiser using long-range Neptune missiles fired from the shore.
In 2017, the Vasily Bekh, a Russian rescue tugboat, became a valuable addition to the Black Sea Fleet. Its purpose is to offer emergency rescue and towing services for ships, as well as evacuate maritime crews and carry out diving operations and survey work. The Russian tugboat was also utilized for the transportation of ammunition, weapons, and personnel to Snake Island.
However, the rescue tug’s tenure in the fleet concluded on June 17, 2022, following reports that Ukrainian forces targeted and “successfully neutralized” the Vasily Bekh using two Harpoon missiles. The incident represented a significant event as Ukraine targeted a Russian vessel using anti-ship rockets provided by Western sources.
The Olenegorskiy Gornyak is a Ropucha-class tank landing ship that excels at efficiently unloading cargo and swiftly transporting amphibious forces to the shore.
Measuring 360 feet in length, Ropucha-class warships have the capability to transport 10 battle tanks and accommodate a maximum of 350 troops.
Ukrainian Sea Drone Strikes Mark New Era in Naval Warfare
Russia admitted to the incident, however, video evidence contradicted their claim that the Olenegorskiy Gornyak was undamaged.
In a little over a month, yet another incident occurred on September 13, 2023. This time, a Ropucha-class landing vessel was struck while undergoing maintenance at the Sevmorzadov shipyard in Russian-occupied Crimea.
According to the UK Ministry of Defense, open-source imagery indicates that the Minsk has been severely damaged and is likely no longer functional. According to satellite imagery, it was observed that the Minsk had been dismantled approximately one month later.
According to an intelligence report from the UK Defense Ministry, the Rostov-on-Don, a Kilo 636.3 class submarine, experienced severe damage, similar to the Minsk. The submarine was also being repaired at the Sevmorzadov shipyard.
Additionally, the Russian Navy experienced the unfortunate loss of one of its recently acquired warships, which was unable to be deployed to the Black Sea Fleet.
According to Lt. Gen. Mykola Oleshchuk, the commander of Ukraine’s Air Force, Ukrainian forces successfully struck the Zaliv shipyard in Russian-occupied Crimea, resulting in significant damage to the Project 22800 Karakurt-class corvette, the Askold.
In less than a week, two additional Russian vessels were struck by Ukrainian sea drones, although it remained unclear which ships were specifically targeted.