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Ukraine strikes Russian submarine rescue ship in Sevastopol

Ukrainian forces damaged the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s Submarine Rescue Ship Kommuna using an R-360 Neptune cruise missile on 21 April.

Captain Dmytro Pletenchuk, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Navy, told Ukrainska Pravda: “This event occurred with the direct involvement of the Ukrainian Navy. The type of damage caused to the ship is being established, but early reports indicate that the ship is not fit to perform missions.”

Several Russian media outlets and Telegram channels reported explosions in the naval base of Sevastopol, which is located in the Russian-occupied region of Crimea. The Russian authorities later claimed that a missile had attacked a ship. Additionally, there were reports of a fire on the Kommuna.

Launched in St. Petersburg in November 1913, the Kommuna is the world’s oldest active-duty naval vessel.

In April 2022 the vessel was dispatched to aid in the aftermath of the sinking of the guided missile cruiser Moskva. The Moskva sank 80 miles (130 km) off the coast of Odesa in water that is 45 to 50 metres (148 to 164 ft) deep. It was reported that Kommuna assisted in the retrieval of weapons, bodies, and other sensitive materials from the wreck site.

The R-360 Neptune is a Ukrainian subsonic cruise missile with all-weather capabilities developed by the Luch Design Bureau in Kyiv. Originally designed as an anti-ship missile, an alternative model was fielded in 2023 with a new guidance system to support land-attack roles. With a range of over 200 kilometres, it is intended to neutralize naval targets up to 9,000 tonnes.

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