Recently released satellite images obtained by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s ‘Schemes’ project reveal the damage caused by a Ukrainian airstrike on the shipyard in occupied Kerch, as well as the presence of the Russian military vessel, Askold, known for its “Kalibr” missiles.
Captain Andriy Ryzhenko, an expert on the matter, believes that the Askold was already docked at the pier and undergoing repairs before the strike occurred. Although the ship remains afloat, the upper part of the vessel is visibly damaged.
The neutralization of the Askold is crucial for Ukraine’s security, according to Ryzhenko. On November 4th, Ukraine launched a series of strikes on the Kerch shipyard using French SCALP missiles. The Stratcom of Ukraine’s Army reported successful strikes on the shipyard, which is in close proximity to the Crimea bridge connecting the occupied peninsula to mainland Russia. The strikes were aimed at the maritime and port infrastructure of the Zaliv shipyard.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense confirmed the strike, claiming that 13 out of 15 cruise missiles were shot down. They also stated that one cruise missile damaged a ship that was docked at the shipyard.
The Askold is a small missile ship of the Russian Navy, commissioned in 2021. It has a displacement of about 870 tons, a length of 67 meters, and a top speed estimated at 30 knots. The ship is equipped with an artillery mount, air defense systems, eight Kalibr anti-ship missile launchers, and its own Pantsir air defense system. It has a crew of around 39 sailors.
Explosions were reported in Kerch on November 4th, and a smoke screen was observed in Sevastopol Bay. The extent of the damage caused by the Ukrainian airstrike and its impact on the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine remains to be seen.