a Ukrainian boat had to maneuver wildly to avoid
being fired upon. One soldier fell into the water
but was later rescued by a Ukrainian drone.
It reported the soldier's location until rescue
It's possible that three Sea King HU.5
helicopters provided by Britain to Ukraine were
involved in these actions. Ukraine uses these
helicopters for transport, search and rescue
missions, and transporting special forces
behind enemy lines. Therefore, it's very likely
that they played a role in the occupation of oil
platforms in the Black Sea and in supporting
the special forces' landing on the Crimean
coast. Coincidentally, during the period we are
examining, a new photo of a Sea King helicopter
in Ukrainian service was published. The right
side of the fuselage features the image of
a drawn character's head and the inscription
Russian ships also became targets of
Ukrainian attacks. On the night of August 4, near
Novorossiysk port, the Ropukha-class landing
ship Olenegorsky Gornyak was hit by a naval
drone as it entered the port. According to initial
Russian reports, the attack was successfully
repelled, and the ship suffered no damage.
However, in the morning, it was revealed
that the ship was unable to move and had
a significant list to the left. It had to be towed to
dry dock. The ship had a hole in the right side of
the hull, four meters high and two meters wide.
The next day, south of the Kerch Strait Bridge,
the Russian tanker Sig was also hit by a naval
drone. The explosion caused a hole in the right
side and flooded the engine room.
Ukrainian naval drone attacking the Russian ship
Landing ship Olenegorskyi Gornyak listing to the left
after a Ukrainian naval drone attack.
Attack on docks and Headquarters
All the actions mentioned so far were just
a prelude to the main attack that occurred in
September. After losing radar installations on
the platforms, air defense systems, and aircraft,
Russia was unable to effectively protect the
western part of Crimea. This had disastrous
consequences for the Black Sea Fleet.
On Wednesday, September 13, early in the
morning, Storm Shadow cruise missiles
launched from Ukrainian Su-24M aircraft struck
the dry dock of the Sevmorzavod shipyard in
Sevastopol. At the time, the dock housed the
Minsk-class Ropukha landing ship and the
B-237 Rostov-on-Don submarine.
A major fire broke out on the Minsk,
destroying virtually all superstructures
from the main deck upwards. Parts of these
superstructures collapsed. The command
bridge and the ship's mast completely collapsed.
In this case, it's an older vessel from 1983, and
the cost-effectiveness of repairing it is highly
questionable. According to the Ukrainian side,
the Minsk was supposed to leave the dock
on September 14, which is why it had a crew
preparing for that. More than 60 sailors were
reported to have perished.
The Rostov-on-Don submarine fared just as
poorly. It belongs to the upgraded Kilo class
(Russian Project 636.3) and entered service
in 2014. Besides torpedoes, it can carry Kalibr
missiles, which it previously launched at
Ukrainian cities. However, it's the end for the
submarine. After being hit by Storm Shadow
missiles, it has two large holes in its hull—one
on the right side behind the conning tower and
another in the front in the torpedo compartment.
The possibility of repairing it is also highly
Less than a week later, Ukrainians carried
out another successful mission with Storm
Shadow missiles targeting Sevastopol. Exactly
at noon, on September 22, the headquarters of
the Black Sea Fleet were struck by at least two
missiles. Only the outer walls remained of the
building; the interior was completely destroyed.
What was worse for the Russians was that
there was a meeting of high-ranking officers
in the headquarters, which the Ukrainians were
informed about by the partisan movement. Two
days after the attack, the Ukrainian Special
Forces command reported that in this operation,
codenamed "Crab Trap," 34 Russian officers
lost their lives, and 105 soldiers were injured.
Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of the
Black Sea Fleet, was said to be among the dead.
Russian authorities later released several
videos that were meant to prove Sokolov's wellbeing, but there are uncertainties about when
these videos were made. According to Russian
occupying authorities, only six were injured, and
the "situation is under control." However, they
also had to admit that the building cannot be
repaired, and its remnants will be demolished.
Most of the remaining large vessels of the
Ukrainian helicopter Sea King HU.5 with a cartoon
character's head and the name "Aviator" painted on the
Olenegorskyi Gornyak in a dry dock showing
a hole in its hull.
Landing ship Minsk on fire on September 13th
in a dock in the port of Sevastopol.
This peculiar photograph was created by assembling
images from a video capturing the damage to the ship