Ukraine methodically destroys Russian fleet, air defense, and aircraft in Crimea

May 20,2024 939
Ukraine methodically destroys Russian fleet, air defense, and aircraft in Crimea

In a significant strike, the Ukrainian military targeted another Russian vessel in the temporarily occupied Sevastopol, hitting the Tsiklon, a small missile ship and the last remaining carrier of cruise missiles in Crimea. Dmytro Pletenchuk, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Navy, reported the attack during a national 24/7 newscast.

“The entire crew was hit. They are very affected now. We are verifying the rest of the information. But there is a likelihood that the Black Sea Fleet has lost its last cruise missile carrier in Crimea,” Pletenchuk said.

The Tsiklon, a small missile ship, has been deployed by Russian forces as a coastal defense vessel in Sevastopol Bay, equipped with the Pantsir-S air defense missile system. Despite its capabilities, the Tsiklon has yet to engage in combat, according to Pletenchuk.

In addition, in a comment to Radio Liberty, Pletenchuk revealed that on May 19, Ukrainian defenders destroyed the Kovrovets, a Project 266-M naval minesweeper, in Kurina Quay in Sevastopol Bay.

In ongoing operations, Ukraine has launched systematic attacks on the Belbek airfield on the peninsula. During the overnight strikes on May 14, critical components of the Russian S-400 Triumf missile system stationed at the airfield were targeted. The assault successfully damaged the 92N6 radar and launchers and also destroyed at least two MiG-31 aircraft.

The cumulative effect of these strikes has seen an overall degradation in the ability of Russia to defend the airspace around Crimea; while simultaneously demonstrating Ukraine’s ability to impact Russian Air Defence operations,” the UK intelligence wrote.

Russia will likely have to disperse its air assets after the attacks to ensure the survivability of its air defense systems. Otherwise, the Kremlin risks losing more aircraft and will be forced to redeploy air defense assets from other locations.

In response to ongoing Ukrainian attacks, Russia has relocated nearly its entire Black Sea Fleet from Crimea, with the majority of ships now concealed in Novorossiysk.

Cover: Defense Express

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