KYIV — Ukraine on Thursday confirmed it wrecked a Russian submarine with British weapons, during a missile attack on the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Russian-occupied Crimea.
The Russian cruise missile carrier — the Rostov-on-Don — was significantly damaged in the massive Ukrainian strike, as was Kremlin warship the Minsk.
A senior Ukrainian military official confirmed to POLITICO that Ukrainian pilots used the British cruise missile Storm Shadow for the attack.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said Ukraine launched 10 cruise missiles on the Sevastopol shipyard on Wednesday, but only three hit their targets, damaging two military vessels. Unusually, on Thursday morning Ukraine’s army claimed the attack and said Russia would not be able to repair the ships in the near future.
“The large Russian landing ship Minsk and the submarine Rostov-on-Don, which were hit during the night attack in Sevastopol, most likely cannot be restored,” Andriy Yusov, a representative of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense, said on Ukrainian TV. Russian Telegram channels confirmed the names and types of vessels.
Natalia Humeniuk of Ukraine’s Army Operational Command South added that the military ships were most likely damaged beyond repair for the Russians, as the only place to carry out repairs was the shipyard which was razed in the attack.
Ukrainian Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk hinted publicly that the Ukrainian Air Force was behind the Sevastopol attack and used British Storm Shadow missiles for the attack.
“While the occupiers are still recovering from a storm in Sevastopol, I would like to thank the pilots of the Air Force for their excellent combat work! To be continued … ” Oleshchuk said in a pointed statement.
The operation happened a few days after Ukraine seized control of four oil and gas drilling platforms in the Black Sea near the shores of Crimea and deactivated Russian radar monitoring all movement in that part of the sea.
“Ukrainian forces used a rare opportunity to target a submarine while it was on the surface of the sea. It was the first time air-to-air missiles were successfully used against a submarine,” Ukrainian military expert and former military officer Roman Svitan told POLITICO. He compared the significance of the operation to last year’s sinking of Moskva cruiser in the Black Sea: “I would say this is an even bigger success.”
Invading Russian forces have frequently launched cruise missiles against сities and towns in the west of Ukraine from submarines in the Black Sea, as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war continues.