The Ukrainian military announced an attack on the Spasatel Vasily Bekh tugboat while it was transporting troops and equipment to Zmiinyi island off Odessa.
“Spasatel Vasily Bekh, a tugboat of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, was demilitarized by the Ukrainian navy. The ship was attacked while transporting troops, weapons and ammunition to Zmiinyi island”, account Twitter of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine said in today’s post.
Video shared on social media, which appears to have been shot from a Bayraktar TB2 drone, shows two anti-ship missiles flying close to the surface of the sea before plunging into a ship and exploding, but it is not clear whether the Spasatel Vasily Bekh or not.
The Russian Defense Ministry has not commented on the information.
Spasatel Vasily Bekh of Project 22870, is a tug and rescue ship commissioned for the Black Sea Fleet since the beginning of 2017. The vessel is 57 m long, has a full load displacement of 1,670 tons and a crew of 26 people. Spasatel Vasily Bekh is designed for towing distressed ocean-going vessels, fighting fires on floating vehicles and facilities, as well as for evacuation and medical treatment of injured people at sea.
Project 22870 ships are unarmed.
Zmiinyi Island has an area of about 17 hectares, located on the Black Sea, about 35 km from the coast of Odessa.
Immediately after launching a special military operation on February 24, Russia sent a warship close to Zmiinyi island and asked its defense forces to surrender. Ukraine’s border guards later announced that Russia had taken control of the island, adding that the infrastructure there was destroyed after air strikes and shelling.
The Ukrainian military has also repeatedly announced a raid on Russian forces stationed on the island with a Bayraktar TB2 drone, destroying at least one light landing craft and a Tor-M2 short-range air defense system.
Commercial satellite images released on June 11 show that Russia is strengthening its air defense network on Zmiinyi island and the surrounding area by deploying multiple Tor and Pantsir systems in fortifications, as well as placing Tor combat vehicles on it. light landing craft moving around the island.
Navy Colonel Andrii Ryzhenko, a former officer of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army, said that this move was to counter the threat posed by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and anti-ship missiles from Kiev, especially after Russia lost its long-range air defense cell due to the sinking of its flagship Moscow in April.