According to sources from both sides, Ukraine destroyed or damaged two Russian warships occupied in Sevastopol on Wednesday. This comes just a week after Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, refused to allow his Starlink service to help Kyiv aim their missiles.
In February, former NATO commander U.S. Army General Ben Hodges called it “a priority” that Kyiv, in order to avoid major bloodshed and to make it impossible for Russian forces to stay there, “use long-range precision strike” to isolate Crimea.
The videos and photos posted by Russian military bloggers of the burning wrecks are impressive.
Russian-occupied Sevastopol has been hit. It is said that the ship yards at the South Bay have been hit.
Russian air defense was also active but obviously was not successful to intercept all incoming missiles.
— (((Tendar))) (@Tendar) September 13, 2023
The Minsk is one of Russia’s amphibious landing vessels. The Ropucha class vessel was launched in 1983. It was one of six amphibious landing ships that were deployed by other fleets into the Black Sea just prior to Russia’s full-scale invasion. The six ships, I wrote at the time “represent an important fraction of Russia’s capacity to conduct amphibious operations.” They were supposed to launch an assault similar in style to that of Marines on Ukraine’s crucial port city Odesa.
It’s possible that the invasion will never happen, at least in Minsk.
Rostov on Don was the name of another ship, a submarine from the Improved Kilo class. The boat, which was launched in service less than nine years ago, is one of only 10 Kilos of the most advanced Kilos that are currently in service with the Russian Navy.
Minsk was reportedly involved in the shelling of Ukraine. Rostov, as well as at least one Kilo-class submarine, had participated in missile attacks on Ukraine. And you know what people say about revenge.
No further information is available. The ships were drydocked in a local repair facility, possibly for maintenance work or other purposes. Drydocks also appear to have sustained significant damage.
Flames engulfed the #Sevastopol Shipyard in #Russia occupied #Crimea after a fiery, late-night Ukrainian cruise missile attack. This is the largest attack on Sevastopol’s naval headquarters, according to the @nytimes.#Ukraine #OSINT pic.twitter.com/3xIR2DyZyz
— BlackSky (@BlackSky_Inc) September 13, 2023
Moscow has admitted that both ships have been damaged. However, from the look of those fires, it may be some time before they are ready to go back into action, if at all.
There’s not much to say about the Ukraine War, except for one point that I will get to shortly. Both sides have been fighting a losing battle since Kyiv launched its counteroffensive earlier this summer. Ukraine has made only small gains in various places along the front.
Three things have slowed down the advance. The lack of air support in Kyiv, as well as the minefields and trenches of Moscow, require caution. It’s a headache to deal with the seemingly limitless supply of Russian soldiers. The Russian troops are not well-led, trained, or armed. No matter how good or brave a soldier is, a man with a weapon in a trench needs to be killed.
It takes time.
For all the talk about sending Ukraine more modern tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and even jets, what they need just as badly — if not more so — is mine-clearing equipment. Clearing mines isn’t nearly as sexy as driving a modern Abrams tank or flying an F-16 Falcon, but forgetting the unsexy stuff loses battles and even wars. It was, after all, largely a lack of unsexy items like fuel and spare tires that stalled Russia’s blitz on Kyiv in March of last year, leading to Moscow’s humiliating retreat.
For the want of a nail…