BlackSky imagery captured the damage caused by a Ukranian cruise missile attack on the Sevastopol Shipyard dry docks in Russian-occupied Crimea on September 13, 2023.
Courtesy of BlackSky
A key Russian submarine suffered “catastrophic” damage in a recent Ukrainian attack, UK intel said.
The loss is significant, the MOD said, as it’s one of four cruise-missile-capable subs in Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
It could take “many years” before the submarine can return to service, the UK MOD said.
A major Ukrainian strike on a Crimean naval base has likely inflicted so much damage to a key Russian submarine that it could take years to return it to service, according to UK intelligence.
Ukrainian forces launched an attack on Wednesday on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet base at Sevastopol, striking a submarine and a landing ship, per the UK’s Ministry of Defence.
In its latest intelligence update published on Friday, the UK MOD said the two vessels — identified as the landing ship Minsk and the Kilo 636.3 class submarine Rostov-on-Don — were hit while undergoing repairs in dry docks at the Sevmorzadov shipyard.
The degree of the damage is such that “any effort to return the submarine to service is likely to take many years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars,” the MOD said.
Damage to the Minsk appeared to be even worse.
“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,” the MOD said.
The prominent X account OSINTtechnical suggested on Wednesday that the blasts hit a dry dock containing the submarine and landing craft, based on satellite imagery.
In the hours following the attack, Russia’s Defense Ministry sought to downplay the extent of the damage to the vessels.
The loss of the submarine is significant, the UK intelligence update said, as it removes one of the Black Sea Fleet’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.”
The UK MOD added that “the complex task of removing the wreckage from the dry docks” will also place the facility out of use for many months.
Ukraine’s latest attack on Crimea is part of a long-term effort to isolate the Russian-occupied peninsula and make it “untenable” for Russian forces to remain there, a retired US Army general previously told Insider.
“This is all orchestrated as part of a sophisticated, multi-domain counteroffensive,” Ben Hodges, a retired lieutenant general and former commander of US Army Europe, said.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, called the attack a “professional and meaningful ‘statement'” in a post on X.
“The demilitarization of the Russian Black Sea fleet is a real long-term guarantee of security for regional trade routes and the “grain corridor,” he added.