A Russian landing ship and cruise missile submarine have likely been left inoperable after being hit during a Ukrainian attack in Crimea, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has said.
During the early hours of 13 September, the Sevmorzavod dockyard at the home of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol was targeted by multiple missiles.
The landing ship Minsk and Kilo-class attack submarine Rostov-na-Donu were hit while undergoing maintenance in a dry dock.
"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," the MOD intelligence update said.
The MOD also said that returning the submarine to active service would be a complex and costly process, probably taking several years and requiring hundreds of millions of dollars in investment.
Moreover, the removal of the wreckage from the dry docks might disrupt their functionality for an extended period, posing a challenge for the Black Sea Fleet's fleet maintenance, the intelligence said.
The consequences of this incident are profound for the Black Sea Fleet. The loss of the Rostov submarine, one of the Black Sea Fleet's four cruise-missile capable vessels, significantly hampers Russia's maritime capabilities.
These submarines have played a pivotal role in the region, both in striking targets in Ukraine and projecting Russian power across the Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean, according to the MOD.
As the Black Sea Fleet grapples with the aftermath of the missile strike, the MOD says it faces a "significant challenge" in sustaining its vessels' operational readiness.