Report: 19 Injured, 33 Missing in Strike on Russian Amphib

Feodosia blast

Published Dec 27, 2023 10:44 PM by The Maritime Executive

The independent Russian news channel Astra has confirmed that a Black Sea Fleet amphibious assault ship was sunk by Ukrainian forces in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The airstrike hit the Ropucha-class tank landing ship Novocherkassk at the port of Feodosia, in Russian-occupied Crimea. The initial blast started a fire, followed by a massive secondary explosion aboard the vessel. 

The Russian defense ministry confirmed the strike and asserted that the ship was damaged. Satellite imagery taken later on Tuesday appeared to show that Novocherkassk had sunk at the pier, and independent Russian outlet Astra has released a photo confirming that the vessel has settled to the bottom. The top of its burned superstructure may be seen protruding from the water. 

Astra also reported that casualty numbers were far higher than claimed by official Russian sources. According to the outlet, 77 sailors were aboard at the time of the blast, and 33 of them are believed to be missing. 19 others were wounded, and one port security guard was killed. (The casualty report could not be independently confirmed.)  

"Such ships, as a rule, are not left without a crew," Ukrainian Navy spokesman Dmytro Pletenchuk told Radio Svoboda. "And the crew is about 80 people. Given this type of ship, there could also be [others aboard]. The fact that this could not be done without victims is more like the truth."

By Pletenchuk's tally, seven of the Black Sea Fleet's 13 amphibs have been disabled or destroyed by Ukrainian strikes. Only six remain for military transport purposes. These ships are used to ferry munitions around the theater for Russian ground forces, and removing the vessels from service is a way to disrupt logistics for the invasion, he said.