Berdiansk port attack

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Saratov in Sevastopol, 2007

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.[1] The Alligator-class landing ship Saratov was destroyed, and two Ropucha-class landing ships took damage but were able to leave the port.[2][3] 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.[4][5]

Capture and occupation of Berdiansk

On 26 February, Russian troops captured the Port of Berdiansk and the Berdiansk Airport.[6][7] By the following day, the Russian military had taken full control of the city.[8][9]

Beginning on 14 March,[10] 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".[11]

Attack

The Alligator-class landing ship Saratov on fire, with the Ropucha-class landing ships Caesar Kunikov and Novocherkassk steaming out of port after the attack

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.[12]

The attack was initially reported to have been carried out with a OTR-21 Tochka tactical ballistic missile,[4] but certain sources claimed that a Bayraktar TB2 drone was employed.[13]

Aftermath

Satellite imagery later confirmed the Saratov had sunk in the harbour, with its superstructure visible above the surface.[12] 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.[14]

British intelligence assessed that the sinking of the Saratov would damage the Russian Navy's confidence to operate close to the Ukrainian coastline.[15] As of 31 March, no further attempts to resupply with amphibious ships had been observed, according to the US DoD.[16]

References

  1. ^ Russian warship destroyed in occupied port of Berdyansk, says Ukraine - BBC News, retrieved 2022-04-05
  2. ^ "Russian military ship destroyed in Berdyansk, Ukrainian Navy claims". CNN. 2022-03-24. Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  3. ^ "Ukraine conflict: Large Russian ship, the Orsk, destroyed by Ukrainian military - reports". The Scotsman. 2022-03-24. Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  4. ^ a b Filseth, Trevor. "Ukrainian Attack Sinks Large Russian Landing Ship". The National Interest. Retrieved 2022-04-03.
  5. ^ "Ukrainian Attack Sinks Large Russian Landing Ship". Seven News. 2022-03-25. Retrieved 2022-04-03.
  6. ^ Шагабудтдинова, Эльмира. "Власти Бердянска заявляют о том, что вражеская техника заняла территорию бывшего аэропорта". 061.ua – Сайт города Запорожья (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  7. ^ "Military vehicles of Russian Federation occupy territory of former Berdiansk airport". Interfax-Ukraine. Archived from the original on 26 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  8. ^ "Ukraine crisis: Russian forces enter Sea of Azov port Berdiansk – report". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 27 February 2022.
  9. ^ Yulia Zakharchenko (28 February 2022). "Бердянськ захопили бойовики, у Харкові та Сумах – тиша: Арестович про ситуацію в Україні". Fakty i Kommentarii. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  10. ^ Trevithick, Joseph. "Russian Amphibious Ships Arrive In Captured Ukrainian City". The Drive. Retrieved 2022-04-03.
  11. ^ Santora, Marc. "Ukrainian forces claim to destroy a Russian landing ship". The New York Times. Retrieved 2022-04-03.
  12. ^ a b Sutton, HI. "Satellite Images Confirm Russian Navy Landing Ship Was Sunk at Berdyansk". USNI. Retrieved 2022-04-03.
  13. ^ "BDK Project 1171 - 2022 Loss". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2022-04-03.
  14. ^ Newick, Thomas (24 March 2022). "Russian Landing Ship Destroyed In Massive Explosion In Captured Ukrainian Port City". The Drive. Retrieved 2022-04-03.
  15. ^ https://twitter.com/DefenceHQ/status/1508184314139271172
  16. ^ "Senior Defense Official Holds a Background Briefing". US DoD. 2022-03-04. Retrieved 2022-04-03.
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