UK Storm Shadow cruise missiles have been used in what is believed to be the largest Ukrainian attack on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea fleet since the start of Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
Kyiv said that the attack base in the city of Sevastopol in Russian-occupied Crimea struck a submarine – which analysts suggested was likely a Kilo-class submarine and a landing vessel. It is thought that this is the first documented successful attack against a Russian submarine during Moscow’s 18-month war.
While Ukrainian officials have not confirmed the means of the strike, military sources said that the attack used Storm Shadow missiles, which were delivered to Kyiv by the UK earlier this year. With a range of more than 150 miles, the missiles can be fired by Ukrainian aircraft. The head of the Ukrainian Air Force, Lieutenant General Mykola Oleschuk, posted an image of the burning shipyard, with the caption: “While the occupants are having a bad time in Sevastopol, let’s thank the Air Force of Ukraine for their brilliant job.” Sevastopol sits about 220km from Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said that Ukraine had attacked a Black Sea shipyard with 10 cruise missiles and three uncrewed speedboats in the early hours of Wednesday.
“It really is the biggest attack on Sevastopol since the beginning of the war,” retired Ukrainian navy captain Andriy Ryzhenko told Reuters. The Black Sea Fleet has launched numerous missile attacks on Ukraine throughout the war.
“Unfortunately, three Storm Shadow missiles reached their target. The landing ship Minsk and the submarine Rostov-on-Don, which were in dry dock, received varying degrees of damage,” the war-blogging Russian Rybar Telegram channel said.
It is not the first time that UK Storm Shadows have been used in the war, with France also providing Ukraine with long-range Scalp-EG cruise missiles. In June, the then-defence secretary, Ben Wallace, told parliament that the missiles were having a “significant impact”.
“It is my understanding its accuracy, and ability to deliver successfully the payload as sent and designed by the Ukrainians has been almost without fault,” he said, “That is an extraordinary achievement in terms of both the engineering that went into it, and the Ukrainians deploying it and using it as it needs to. It has had an effect on the Russian army, mainly around its logistics and command and control. That shows the importance of deep fires [long-range missiles].”
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