A surprise attack of great significance. Without Sevastopol, Russian sea control will collapse

, 20:46, 13.09.2023
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Submarine and landing craft damaged. The Russians admit it themselves. Judging by the photos, the second one is already scrap. The Ukrainian attack on the Sevastopol shipyard is a major success.

A surprise attack of great significance. Without Sevastopol, Russian sea control will collapse

2 ships damaged in Sevastopol as a result of night explosions

This aura of a safe haven was destroyed on the night from Tuesday to Wednesday. After a series of several strong explosions, a fire broke out at the Sewmorwerf shipyard in Sevastopol. The fire was located in the area of ​​two dry docks located next to each other. According to satellite photos taken the day before, there were a large project 775 Landing Ship and a project 636 Submarine.

The Russian Ministry of Defense uniquely admitted that a large landing ship and a submarine were damaged as a result of the Ukrainian attack. Additionally, it was found that the strike was carried out using 10 cruise missiles and many surface drones. Seven missiles and all drones were to be destroyed. However, unofficial Russian sources write that it was a bit different.

Rockets to a sensitive place

The first mystery was what the Ukrainians attacked with. However, the latter quite quickly found a probable solution in the form of a comment from the commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, General Mykola Oleshchuk. He publicly congratulated his subordinates on the successful operation. In addition, the Ukrainian Air Force itself posted an ironic picture with a meaningful message online.

This indicates the use of Storm Shadow/SCALP cruise missiles (British and French versions) launched from Western aircraft. The Ukrainians received them in late spring and have so far used them successfully to attack mainly Russian logistics, headquarters and command posts. For some reason, Sevastopol was not their target. What happened that now it was decided to use them, even though the Russian naval base has always been an equally important strategic goal?

One can only speculate that this required some political decisions on the part of the missile suppliers, or the preparation of appropriate conditions for an attack in the form of weakening the Russian air defense umbrella and electronic warfare. In this context, the August Ukrainian attacks on long-range radars and the S-400 system battery on the western coast of Crimea gain new significance.

Previous Ukrainian attacks with Western cruise missiles have used flying MALD decoys. Their task is to fly next to real missiles and attract the attention of anti-aircraft defense to make it easier for the former to get to the target. It is very likely that the Ukrainians also used decoys in such an important attack on a heavily defended naval base. This must be taken into account when reading Russian claims that most of the attacking missiles were shot down, or even information about the number of missiles used in the strike.

There is no doubt that some of the Ukrainian missiles managed to reach their target. Photos and videos clearly show a heavy fire on board the Project 775 landing ship, which is easily recognizable by the shapes of the superstructures licked by the flames. According to unofficial Russian sources, it was Minsk. There is no clear evidence of damage to the submarine (unofficially Rostov-on-Don), although it is not necessary because the Russian Ministry of Defense itself admits to it. The question is their scale. Russian unofficial sources on Telegram claim that the damage to both ships is serious. There are phrases like “completely burned out”. In the early afternoon, a photo appeared, confirming this in the context of Minsk. The ship is clearly very badly damaged and almost certainly beyond repair. However, you cannot see Rostov-on-Don, hidden by the building.

There are also claims that two other ships standing at the shipyard's quays were damaged, but there is no proof of this. We have to wait for new satellite photos. There is no specific information about possible damage to the shipyard buildings located next to the docks. Not counting the broken windows.

Suffocation of the Black Sea Fleet

The attack on the Sevastopol shipyard is of great importance for three reasons. Firstly, two large ships were damaged or destroyed. The underwater one is especially important.

The latest type of Russian conventional submarines, adapted to launch Kalibr cruise missiles from underwater. Therefore, it is a unit of particular importance to Ukrainians because it takes part in attacks on their cities. Regardless, it is a modern and valuable submarine, commissioned in 2014. The Project 775 Minsk landing ship is an older and less important unit, built in the 1980s in Gdańsk for the USSR fleet. Since the Russians have abandoned any landing attempts on the Ukrainian coast, it is currently of no particular importance. Possibly as a ship to transport equipment and supplies between Crimea and Russia. 

#Sevastopol#Black Sea

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