The Berdiansk port attack was a strike carried out by Ukrainian forces against Russian Navy ships moored in the port of Berdiansk on 24 March 2022, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Alligator-class landing ship Saratov was destroyed, and two Ropucha-class landing ships took damage but were able to leave the port. The destruction of the Saratov was, to date, the heaviest naval loss suffered by Russia since the beginning of the invasion, and one of Ukraine's most significant successes.
Capture and occupation of Berdiansk
Beginning on 14 March, the port was used as a logistics hub by the Russians to support their offensive in southern Ukraine and in particular the siege of Mariupol. On 21 March, Russian media Zvezda reported on the arrival of amphibious transports in Berdiansk. A Russian navy officer described it as "a landmark event that will open logistical possibilities to the Black Sea Navy".
The attack occurred at 7:45 on 24 March. Fire onboard the Alligator-class landing ship Saratov caused a large explosion, as the vessel was apparently laden with ammunition. The explosion caused damage to two nearby Ropucha-class landing ships, the Caesar Kunikov, and the Novocherkassk. Both of these ships escaped the port while fighting their own fires, and later returned to Crimea. Other damage included large oil tanks on the pier and a nearby merchant ship that had been moored there since before the invasion, both of which were still burning the next day.
Satellite imagery later confirmed the Saratov had sunk in the harbour, with its superstructure visible above the surface. Ukrainian sources claimed that 8 crewmen were killed on the Caesar Kunikov and 3 on the Novocherkassk, but losses on the Saratov were not reported.
British intelligence assessed that the sinking of the Saratov would damage the Russian Navy's confidence to operate close to the Ukrainian coastline. As of 31 March, no further attempts to resupply with amphibious ships had been observed, according to the US DoD.
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