In the early hours of September 13, 2023, multiple missiles struck the Sevmorzavod shipyard within russia’s Black Sea Fleet (BSF) Sevastopol naval base. The Minsk landing ship and Rostov-na-Donu Kilo 636.3 class submarine were hit while undergoing maintenance in dry docks, the UK Defense Intelligence reports.
Despite the russian Ministry of Defence downplaying the damage to the vessels, 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.
There is a realistic possibility that the complex task of removing the wreckage from the dry docks will place them out of use for many months. This would present the BSF with a significant challenge in sustaining fleet maintenance. 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.