A Russian submarine suffered “catastrophic” damage and a landing ship was completely destroyed by a Ukrainian missile strike, UK officials have revealed.
The incident within Russia’s Black Sea Fleet (BSF) Sevastopol naval base in the early hours of September 13.
Russian military sources have tried to downplay the damage caused to the landing ship Minsk and Rostov-na-Donu submarine.
But in their latest intelligence update on the war, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said: “Open-source evidence indicates the Minsk has almost certainly been functionally destroyed, while the Rostov has likely suffered catastrophic damage.
“Any effort to return the submarine to service is likely to take many years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars.”
The MoD also said that “there is a realistic possibility” that the dry docks where the two vessels had been situated will be out of action for “many months” while the wreckage is cleared away.
“This would present the BSF with a significant challenge in sustaining fleet maintenance,” the MoD update said.
“The loss of the Rostov removes one of the BSF’s four cruise-missile capable submarines which have played a major role in striking Ukraine and projecting Russian power across the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean.”
The incident is another huge blow for Vladimir Putin as the war in Ukraine drags on.
Earlier this week it emerged that Russian troops are being “rushed into action” because the country’s military is being “over-stretched” .
Meanwhile, Russia is also suffering workforce shortages as a result of the conflict.