Kyiv. – Ukraine attacked Russian naval targets and port infrastructure in annexed Crimea on Wednesday. It was apparently the largest offensive since the beginning of the war against the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy.
In the early hours of the morning, rocket fire hit the port of Sevastopol, damaging an upgraded Kilo-class attack submarine, the Rostov-on-Don, and a Ropucha-class amphibious assault ship, the Minsk, and injuring 24 people.
It is the first time since the start of the invasion that Ukrainian forces were able to neutralize a submarine. Given the difficulty of attacking it at sea, one of the options is to do so while it is afloat or being repaired in a port, as was the case in this case. The attack ship was also undergoing maintenance when it was attacked: Ukrainian forces described the attack as “historic” as they can no longer sail at sea.
“We confirm that a large landing ship and a submarine were hit. “We do not comment on the means of the attack,” Ukrainian military intelligence officer Andriy Yusov told Reuters, without providing details on the extent of the damage.
Yusov later said the damage was “significant.” “Now we can say that there is a high probability that they are not vulnerable to redevelopment,” he added.
Moscow also confirmed the attack on Crimea, highlighting Kiev’s growing missile capabilities as Russia continues to bomb Ukraine from a distance with long-range projectiles and drones. The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that Ukraine attacked a Black Sea shipyard with 10 cruise missiles and three unmanned speedboats in the early hours of the morning, damaging two military ships under repair.
An image posted online and verified by Reuters showed a docked ship that had suffered severe damage.
Retired Ukrainian Navy Captain Andriy Ryzhenko said in a telephone conversation with Reuters: “It is really the largest attack on Sevastopol since the beginning of the war.” The city is home to the Black Sea Fleet, which the Kremlin uses to project its power in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.
After the attack, Russia claimed to have destroyed three Ukrainian naval drones in the Black Sea. “On September 13, the aviation of the Black Sea Fleet discovered and destroyed three unmanned ships of the Ukrainian army,” the ministry said on Telegram without further details.
Attacks by naval or aerial drones have become increasingly common off Ukraine’s coast and have increased since Russia withdrew from a deal in July allowing Ukrainian grain exports across the Black Sea.
In early September, Moscow said it had foiled one such attack that targeted the bridge between Russia and Crimea, a peninsula in southern Ukraine annexed in 2014. Since the Russian offensive in Ukraine began in February 2022, the bridge has been damaged twice.
This Thursday, the Kiev Air Force reported that Ukrainian air defenses destroyed 17 Russian drones overnight.
“A total of 22 Shahed (drone) launches were confirmed in the Mykolaiv, Zaporizhia, Dnipropetrovsk and Sumy regions,” Ukrainian forces said on Telegram, blaming Moscow for the attack.
“According to the results of night combat operations, 17 of the 22 enemy air attack drones Shahed-136/131 were destroyed by anti-aircraft defense,” the same source added.
The Ukrainian Air Force did not provide any information about possible damage or casualties, nor did it provide information about where the planes were shot down.
Moscow regularly launches Iranian-made Shahed explosive drones over the Ukrainian rear.