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​After Ukraine's Strike, Only Seven Landing Ships Left in the Black Sea, Here's When Things Get Interesting

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Storm Shadow/SCALP-EG cruise missile, one of those is reportedly responsible for inflicting such losses to the russian assets in Crimea / Still image credit: Ukrainian Air Force
Storm Shadow/SCALP-EG cruise missile, one of those is reportedly responsible for inflicting such losses to the russian assets in Crimea / Still image credit: Ukrainian Air Force

The successful attack not just renders a few more ships incapable but triggers some far-reaching consequences

Yesterday on March 24th, Ukrainian military Strategic Communications reported the strike inflicted on the russian repair base in occupied Crimea, resulting in two landing craft destroyed, the Azov and Yamal, as well as a communications center of the Black Sea Fleet of the russian Navy and "other targets" in Sevastopol.

While the condition of Azov is yet to be clarified, the extent of damage to Yamal is severe. With these two vessels out of the picture, only seven russian "large landing ships" (as per Soviet classification) remain operational in the Black Sea, south of Ukraine. The number includes reinforcements deployed in the region right before the invasion in 2022.

Read more: ​The Defense Intelligence of Ukraine Reveals Details about the State of russian Yamal Landing Ship
Azov Ropucha-class (NATO classification) landing ship before it got hit in Sevastopol / Defense Express / After Ukraine's Strike, Only Seven Landing Ships Left in the Black Sea, Here's When Things Get Interesting
Azov Ropucha-class (NATO classification) landing ship before it got hit in Sevastopol / Open-source illustrative photo

The list of them all as follows:

Ship class Name Originally from
Project 11711 Pyotr Morgunov Pyotr Morgunov Northern Fleet
Project 1171 Tapir Nikolay Filchenkov Black Sea Fleet
Project 1171 Tapir Orsk Black Sea Fleet
Project 775 Korolev Baltic Fleet
Project 775 Kaliningrad Baltic Fleet
Project 775 Georgiy Pobedonosets Northern Fleet
Project 775 Olenegorsky Gornyak Northern Fleet
/ Defense Express / After Ukraine's Strike, Only Seven Landing Ships Left in the Black Sea, Here's When Things Get Interesting
Yamal Ropucha-class (NATO classification) landing ship before it got hit in Sevastopol / Open-source illustrative photo

Notably, now the Black Sea Fleet itself is left with nothing but two landing ships of Project 1171 Tapir, both are the oldest vessels in the entire fleet. We should also mention two currently inactive ships due to prior strikes, Minsk and Olenegorsky Gornyak, both of Project 775.

Those "other targets" from the report are believed to be fuel storage reservoirs near Hvardiiske village. The interesting part, though, is the communications center which was hit by reportedly three missiles. Satellite photos also indicate it suffered from a fire inside.

One of the places where the destroyed russian Black Sea Fleet communications center was hit / Defense Express / After Ukraine's Strike, Only Seven Landing Ships Left in the Black Sea, Here's When Things Get Interesting
One of the places where the destroyed russian Black Sea Fleet communications center was hit, satellite photos as of March 24th, 2024 / Photo credit: the Schemes project, RFE/RL

This building is the main communication node of the Black Sea Fleet. Rendering it inoperable means troubles in commanding the fleet as a whole. Even a temporary incapability creates a window of opportunity for Ukrainians and disrupts not just the cohesion between the peers in this matrix of a structure, i.e. between combat and non-combat units, etc., but also the command chain.

That is because the reform announced in December 2023 by russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu had changed the subordination of the Black Sea Fleet from the Southern Military District to directly the Kremlin and its centralized naval committee.

Storm Shadow danger zone / Defense Express / After Ukraine's Strike, Only Seven Landing Ships Left in the Black Sea, Here's When Things Get Interesting
Storm Shadow danger zone / Illustrative render by Defense Express
Read more: ​Putin Shows the Illusion That russia Remains a Great Maritime Power, But This Is Not True