Ukraine Confirms Strike on Last Russian Guided-Missile Warship in Crimea

Deck gun aboard the corvette Tsiklon (Russian Ministry of Defense file image)
Deck gun aboard the corvette Tsiklon (Russian Ministry of Defense file image)

Published May 21, 2024 11:44 PM by The Maritime Executive

Ukraine's defense ministry has confirmed a rumored missile strike on the last Russian Navy guided-missile ship in Crimea, the Karakurt-class corvette Tsiklon (or Tsyklon). Russian forces have not acknowledged any damage to the ship, but the Institute for the Study of War has corroborated Ukraine's claim using satellite imagery taken after the attack. 

On May 19, Ukrainian forces launched a missile strike on Sevastopol, likely using the U.S.-supplied ATACMS tactical ballistic missile system. Ukraine's ministry of defense claimed success on Sunday, announcing that it had hit and destroyed a Russian minesweeper, the Project 266-M Kovrovets

The Russian corvette Tsiklon was rumored to have been hit in the same attack, but Ukraine's military did not immediately claim to have damaged the vessel. That has changed: the general staff of the Ukrainian armed forces included a strike on Tsiklon in its daily news summary on Tuesday. The initial announcement did not include an assessment of the damage, but the Ukrainian Navy later said that the warship had been "destroyed." 

In an update Monday, the Institute for the Study of War reported that the area where Tsiklon is docked now shows signs of damage to buildings, and a rescue ship and a floating crane are located near the corvette's former berth - all consistent with a response to a marine casualty. 

Tsiklon was a brand new Karakurt-class Project 22800 missile corvette, capable of launching Kalibr land-attack cruise missiles. Russia's long-range missile attacks have had a significant impact on Ukraine's infrastructure, particularly on soft targets like electrical substations, and Ukraine has put a priority on disabling the launch platforms for these weapons. Ukrainian drone and missile strikes have hit or destroyed one third of the Russian Black Sea Fleet to date, including two of the five Project 22800 corvettes. 

All of Russia's remaining missile-carrying warships in the Black Sea have been relocated away from their usual home port in Sevastopol to the safety of seaports further to the east, said Ukrainian Navy spokesman Vladimir Pletenchuk. Russia has been moving warships out of Crimea to Novorossiysk, which is far from Ukraine's vital shipping lanes in the western Black Sea.