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General Staff confirms Russian missile ship Tsiklon struck in occupied Crimea

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 21, 2024 5:48 PM 2 min read
The Tsiklon, a Russian missile ship that was reportedly struck in a Ukrainian attack in Sevastopol on May 19 in a photo dated Dec. 11, 2021. (Andrey Brichevsky/Russia's Black Sea Fleet)
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The General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces confirmed on May 21 that the Russian missile ship Tsiklon was struck in a Ukrainian attack in Sevastopol, occupied Crimea, on May 19.

The ship was reportedly hit during an attack that the Ukrainian Navy previously said resulted in the destruction of the Russian minesweeper Kovrovets.

Navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk previously told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) on May 20 that there was a possibility the ship had been "lost," but could not confirm the news at the time. Pletenchuk added that if the Tsiklon was indeed sunk, it would mean the loss of Russia's last missile ship in the Black Sea.

The General Staff did not specify the extent of the damage caused to the ship.

The Tsiklon was launched into service in July 2023, the state-run media outlet TASS reported. It is a Karakurt-class missile ship armed with various weapons, including Kalibr missiles.

The report comes amid Ukraine's ongoing campaign targeting the Russian Black Sea Fleet, inflicting damage on warships one after another. In April, Ukraine’s Navy said that it had struck the Kommuna, a salvage ship that was launched in 1915 and is the oldest ship still in service in the Russian Navy.

Following Ukraine's successful attacks from afar, the Russian military has withdrawn nearly all its major ships from ports in occupied Crimea following successful Ukrainian strikes on the Black Sea Fleet, Pletenchuk said in March.

Russia began redeploying the Black Sea Fleet to Novorossiysk last year after a series of devastating Ukrainian strikes, including a missile attack on its headquarters in Sevastopol on Sept. 22.

Now, "the most valuable assets are all withdrawn," according to Pletenchuk.

The Strategic Communications Center of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (StratCom) recently reported that as of early February 2024, 33% of the Black Sea Fleet’s warships had been disabled, including 24 ships and one submarine.

Russia has taken a number of steps to address the continuing threat, including replacing the commander of the Russian Navy in March.

Opinion: What’s left of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet?
Russia’s war against Ukraine is shattering the conventions of warfare in many ways. One of the most illustrative examples is the systematic destruction of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet (BSF) by Ukraine, a country that has virtually no navy of its own. The Ukrainian military’s use of coastal
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