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Ukraine’s Navy says it destroyed Russian sea minesweeper Kovrovets overnight

by Asami Terajima May 19, 2024 12:15 PM 2 min read
Russian sea minesweeper Kovrovets in the Bay of Sevastopol in 2023. (Photo from a Russian website)
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Ukraine’s Navy said on May 19 that it had “destroyed” Russian sea minesweeper Kovrovets overnight, refuting Moscow’s earlier claims of having repelled strikes on occupied Crimea.

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 had said that it struck Kommuna, a salvage ship that was launched in 1915 and is the oldest ship still in service in the Russian Navy.

Earlier on May 19, Moscow claimed that it had shot down nine U.S.-provided long-range ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) missiles, and a drone over Crimea. Ukraine’s Navy has not elaborated on how the reported strike was carried out.

Russian proxy official in Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said at around midnight that the air defense was working in the city. He said no damage to civilian infrastructure was recorded.

The sea minesweeper Kovrovets, with a crew of 68 people, belongs to the Project 266 Akvamarin class, known in NATO as the Yurka class. This Soviet-origin class detects mines up to 150 meters deep and has two 30mm AK-230M naval guns with a high-resolution Lynx radar installed.

According to the Black Sea Fleet website, 40 ships that belong to this class were constructed between 1963 and 1971.

Russia's Defense Ministry had not reacted to Kyiv's report of a successful strike as of the publication time.

Following Ukriane’s successful attacks from afar, the Russian military has withdrawn nearly all its major ships from ports in occupied Crimea following successful Ukrainian strikes on the Black Sea Fleet, Navy Spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk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Now, "the most valuable assets are all withdrawn," according to Pletenchuk.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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