Investigative Group Confirms Russian Missile Carrier Ship Sank In Crimea


(RFE/RL) — The investigative group Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) confirmed on May 23 that a Ukrainian missile attack four days earlier on the port of Sevastopol hit a Cyclone missile carrier ship belonging to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

CIT said that, after reviewing photographs of a sunken ship showing a mast sticking out of the water, it concluded that the vessel was the Cyclone missile carrier. The Karakurt-class corvette joined the fleet six months earlier.

Russia has not confirmed the loss of the vessel and no information has been made public about possible casualties among the ship’s crew.

British intelligence said that the Russian ship was “almost certainly” sunk by a Ukrainian strike on Sevastopol in occupied Crimea on May 19.

The attack likely involved a combination of drones and ATACMS missiles, British intelligence said. The Cyclone missile carrier was one of four Russian vessels of the Karakurt class. It was armed with Kalibr cruise missiles, which have been used against Ukraine.

Two of the Karakurt-class vessels were likely diverted to the Caspian Sea to safely complete sea trials following a series of successful Ukrainian attacks, British intelligence said. The fourth vessel was previously seriously damaged in a Ukrainian strike in November 2023.

British intelligence noted that, while it is unlikely to significantly change the impact the Russian Navy is having on Ukrainian operations, the strike “does highlight a continued danger to Russian forces operating in the Crimea and the Black Sea region and continued Ukrainian success when conducting coordinated strikes.”

The CIT also referred to a minesweeper called the Kovrovets, which it said was not visible in the port as of May 21. The Ukrainian military reported on May 19 that the ship was destroyed in its attack on Sevastopol. The Ukrainian Navy did not give additional details.

According to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Russia has lost 26 ships and boats and one submarine since it launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Moscow does not comment on the losses.

The Ukrainian Navy claims that Russia almost never sends its ships to the Black Sea in light of the damage and destruction that Ukrainian forces have inflicted.


RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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