Video: Ukraine Damages Russian Warship in Attack on Black Sea Ports

Russian warship attacked
Image from video reportedly released by Ukraine's Security Service of the drone attack (Telegram)

Published Aug 4, 2023 11:39 AM by The Maritime Executive

Ukraine has severely damaged a Russian warship as it expands its attacks on Black Sea seaports. The attacks overnight increased and included the Russian naval base and the busy commercial port of Novorossiysk in the eastern Black Sea as well as the port of Feodosia to the west in the occupied portions of Crimea. 

Images circulating on social media show a Russian amphibious Ropucha-class landing ship listing and apparently heavily damaged in the attack, although the Russian Defense Ministry insists the attacks were repelled on both ports. The vessel is being identified as the Olenegorsky Gornyay, built in Gdansk, Poland in 1976 and operating with a crew of approximately 100 sailors.




Ukraine’s navy denied knowledge of the attack but accounts being attributed to Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) said that the nighttime assault was carried out by a “maritime kamikaze drone.” They released a 30-second video showing the uncrewed vessel in the harbor and locking in on the silhouette of the warship. Reports said the drone was loaded with 450 kilos of TNT.

Daytime images from the port show the vessel listing to port. Other images show multiple tugs alongside with accounts saying they were attempting to move the damaged ship to shore. The Olenegorsky Gornyak was reportedly being used to move heavy cargo including military vehicles. 



Russian news agency TASS reported that the authorities based in Sochi would be increasing security on the commercial seaport and had briefly suspended all ship movements. The commercial port handles oil shipments from the Caspian Pipeline Consortium which operates a terminal in the port as well as handling Russian agricultural products.

Separately, Ukraine’s southern military command confirmed that the port of Feodosia had also been targeted during the overnight attacks. Russia claims to have neutralized 13 Ukrainian drones that were attacking the port. The Ukrainian Navy said the port was targeted because the Russian Black Sea fleet uses a large oil storage facility in the port. They said based on the navy’s use of the port “we should continue to expect to see explosions there.”

Ukraine’s attacks on the eastern Black Sea ports come just days after Russia repeatedly attacked the port of Izmail, Ukraine’s largest seaport on the Danube, which was emerging as an outlet to restore limited grain shipments. Ukrainian media is today quoting a spokesperson for the southern military command that they are working to repurpose air defenses as well to strengthen the defense of the seaports with anti-missile assets capable of counteracting the Russian drones. They said there have been a total of seven attacks on the seaports since Russia in mid-July ended the Black Sea grain agreement with the United Nations and Turkey.