Recent developments in the Ukraine War have brought about significant damage to the Russian Black Sea Fleet (BSF). On September 13, 2023, in the early hours, a targeted missile strike hit the Sevmorzavod shipyard, located within Russia’s Black Sea Fleet’s Sevastopol naval base. The strike had a devastating impact on two critical naval assets, the landing ship Minsk and the Kilo 636.3 class submarine Rostov-na-Donu, both of which were undergoing maintenance in dry docks.
Missile Strike Details:
While the Russian Ministry of Defence attempted to downplay the extent of damage to the vessels, open-source intelligence suggests otherwise. The landing ship Minsk is believed to have been functionally destroyed as a result of the missile strike. Similarly, the Kilo 636.3 class submarine Rostov-na-Donu has likely suffered catastrophic damage. Such damage implies that any attempt to return the submarine to operational status would be an extensive and costly endeavor, spanning many years and requiring hundreds of millions of dollars in investments.
The ramifications of this strike extend beyond the immediate damage inflicted on the naval assets. The complex task of removing the wreckage from the dry docks is expected to render these facilities unusable for an extended period, potentially lasting months. This situation poses a significant challenge for the Russian Black Sea Fleet in terms of sustaining fleet maintenance and operations.
Of particular significance is the loss of the Rostov-na-Donu submarine. This vessel was one of the BSF’s four cruise-missile capable submarines, which have played a pivotal role in the conflict, both in striking targets within Ukraine and projecting Russian power across the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean. The absence of this submarine from the fleet’s capabilities will impact Russia’s naval operations in the region.
The recent missile strike on the Sevmorzavod shipyard in Russia’s Black Sea Fleet Sevastopol naval base has dealt a severe blow to Russian naval assets. The destruction of the Minsk and the likely loss of the Rostov-na-Donu submarine have not only inflicted immediate damage but also placed a substantial burden on the Russian Navy’s resources and capabilities. The long-term repercussions of this strike remain to be seen, but it is clear that the Ukraine War continues to evolve with significant consequences for all parties involved.