Ukraine launched a major strike on Russian naval targets port infrastructure in Sevastopol, Crimea, home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. The attack, which occurred in the early hours of Wednesday (9/13/23), marks one of the most significant assaults on the Russian navy.
Ukraine’s military confirmed the attack on Crimea, a region annexed by Russia in 2014, highlighting Kyiv’s growing missile capabilities. The strike showcased Ukraine’s ability to target the Russian navy’s infrastructure even as Russia continues to attack Ukraine with long-range missiles and assault drones.
While Ukrainian military intelligence official Andriy Yusov confirmed that a large landing vessel and a submarine were hit, details regarding the exact type of missile used remained undisclosed. However, some speculations domestically made Neptune anti-ship missiles or British-supplied Storm Shadow cruise missiles might have been employed.
Russia’s defense ministry reported that Ukraine launched ten cruise missiles and three uncrewed speedboats, targeting a Black Sea shipyard and damaging two military vessels undergoing repairs. Russian air defense systems intercepted seven incoming missiles, and the patrol ship Vasily Bykov destroyed the attack boats.
The largest city on the Crimea Peninsula, Sevastopol, under Russian occupation, is the primary base for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. It is crucial in Russia’s power projection in the Middle East and Mediterranean. It has been used to enforce a de facto blockade on Ukraine’s seaborne food exports via the Turkish straits during the conflict.
This attack on Sevastopol represents a significant blow to Russia’s naval capabilities in the Black Sea, further escalating the already intense conflict. Ukraine’s ability to strike at the heart of Russia’s naval power underscores the evolving dynamics of the ongoing war, with both sides employing increasingly sophisticated military tactics.
The Western support provided to Ukraine, including weapons worth billions of dollars, has assisted Kyiv’s ability to resist the Russian occupation. The consequences of this attack on the Black Sea Fleet could have far-reaching implications for the ongoing conflict, potentially reshaping the balance of power in the region and intensifying the conflict further.