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​Ukrainian Navy Confirms a Hit on russian Kommuna Salvage Ship in Sevastopol

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Kommuna deep-sea works and salvave ship / Open-source illustrative photo
Kommuna deep-sea works and salvave ship / Open-source illustrative photo

The 111-year-old vessel was put out of order by reportedly an R-360 Neptune missile

"Today, in Crimea, the Ukrainian Navy has reached another ship of the Black Sea Fleet of the russian federation, the Kommuna," Dmytro Pletenchuk, Public Affairs Officer of Ukraine's naval forces, has briefly reported on his personal Facebook page. The missile strike he's referring to was reported by russian media and eyewitnesses on the morning of April 21st, 2024.

Read more: ​What Was Targeted in Sevastopol: the Kommuna Salvage Ship or One of the Large Landing Ships

"The character of damage is being verified," Pletenchuk adds. "But undoubtedly, the ship can no longer carry out its tasks. This will continue unless the russians run out of ships or they get out of Crimea."

On the air of the telethon on national TV, Pletenchuk also noted that the russian forces have been employing a relatively new tactic: use auxiliary ships of the Black Sea Fleet to "provide cover" for combat units.

As a reminder, the Kommuna salvage ship was spotted docked at Dokova Bay in Sevastopol prior to the strike, in early April. This is the only russian salvage ship of its class in the Black Sea, it carries out such missions as retrieving sunken cargo and submarines.

Laid down in 1912 and commissioned next year, this vessel was at least twice involved in rescuing stricken submarines, notes OSINT explorer and naval analyst H I Sutton in his article from 2022. It was also reportedly sent to bring up the remnants of the sunken Moskva cruiser, the former flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, defeated by the Ukrainian Navy in the early weeks of the russian invasion.

The analyst states that Kommuna is "a legitimate target and provides Russian navy with valuable capabilities. She often participates in submarine trials and can conduct seabed warfare."

Kommuna fact sheet infographics / Defense Express / Ukrainian Navy Confirms a Hit on russian Kommuna Salvage Ship in Sevastopol
Infographics credit: H I Sutton

Navy press officer Pletenchuk mentioned in an interview to RBC-Ukraine that Kommuna, quote: "serviced submarines, and launched underwater drones. It was this ship that worked at the site of the sinking of the cruiser Moskva to retrieve the most important elements at the sinking site. Despite its 'venerable age,' it had quite the latest equipment."

Forbes states, with reference to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, that Kommuna was hit with an R-360 Neptune anti-ship missile while moored in Sevastopol. The Neptune missile is a Ukrainian development with an officially announced range of 280 km, although objective data suggests the weapon has received a major overhaul since the beginning of the russian invasion in 2022, with its attack range potentially increased up to 400 km.

The R-360 Neptune (Neptun) missile
The R-360 Neptune (Neptun) missile / Archive photo by Defense Express
Read more: ​Artillery Flows from russia to Libya in "Unprecedented" Delivery – OSINT Experts