Ukrainian Forces Strike & Sink Another Russian Ship During Counter-Attack

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“A land-based anti-ship missile sank a Russian navy tugboat unloading air defense missiles and service personnel on the Russian Federation (RF)-occupied Zmiyny Island,” Ukraine’s Kyiv Post reported based on info apparently made available Friday.

The island is also spelled in English as Zmiinyi Island, and it’s also known as Snake Island. Russian forces captured it from Ukraine early in the present war between the two countries, which started with an invasion by Russia back towards the end of February. As for this latest strike, the hit itself took place on Friday, June 17, per Ukrainian authorities. “The Naval Forces of Ukraine have destroyed yet another ‘nothing like it anywhere in the world’ system – this time aboard a tugboat carrying a Tor anti-aircraft system. The Russian Black Sea vessel Vasiliy Bekh was hit while transporting ammunition, military materials, and military service personnel from the Black Sea Fleet,” a Ukrainian navy statement said. Ukrainian authorities shared footage apparently purportedly showing the strike.

The Vasiliy Bekh was put into service as a “logistics and support” vessel for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet back in 2017, according to the Kyiv Post’s info. Odesa region Governor Maksym Marchenko credited a U.S.-built Harpoon anti-ship missile for the successful strike. As manufactured, that missile’s “primary mission is to sink major warships,” per the Kyiv Post. President Joe Biden just recently unveiled another substantial new tranche of defense assistance — meaning weapons — for Ukraine as the country continues to try and fight off the Russian invasion.

“I informed President Zelenskyy that the United States is providing another $1 billion in security assistance for Ukraine, including additional artillery and coastal defense weapons, as well as ammunition for the artillery and advanced rocket systems that the Ukrainians need to support their defensive operations in the Donbas,” Biden said on June 15 following a phone conversation between the U.S. and Ukrainian presidents.

The Neptune missile, developed domestically in Ukraine and identified by the Kyiv Post as basically the country’s answer to the Harpoon missile, was used in a Ukrainian strike on the Russian warship known as the Moskva, identified as the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet. The ship was named after Russia’s capital, Moscow; “Moskva” is the English transliteration of the Russian name for the city. The ship sunk soon after that Ukrainian strike. According to information reported on by the Kyiv Post, over 300 Russian military personnel on the ship died from injuries and drowning following the Ukrainian hit. On land — specifically, in the portion of Ukraine known as the Donbas, which comprises the country’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions — “Russia’s combat force… is highly likely operating in increasingly ad hoc and severely undermanned groupings,” a Thursday update from U.K. authorities about the Donbas said. “As claimed by the Ukrainian authorities, some Russian Battalion Tactical Groups (BTGs) – typically established at around 600 to 800 personnel – have been able to muster as few as 30 soldiers.”