Did Ukraine Try to Attack Russia's Admiral Kuznetsov Aircraft Carrier?

Did Ukraine Try to Attack Russia's Admiral Kuznetsov Aircraft Carrier?

Russian state media reported that the Federal Security Service (FSB) thwarted a Ukrainian military intelligence attempt to sabotage the flagship aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, currently undergoing a refit in Murmansk.

 

Summary and Key Points: Russian state media reported that the Federal Security Service (FSB) thwarted a Ukrainian military intelligence attempt to sabotage the flagship aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, currently undergoing a refit in Murmansk.

Admiral Kuznetsov

 

-An alleged Ukrainian agent, "Oleg," reportedly contacted a Russian serviceman via social media to incite an attack using an explosive incendiary device. The Russian officer informed security services, leading to a controlled operation to expose potential accomplices.

-The FSB claimed that the Ukrainian intelligence offered evacuation and rewards for the attack. Repairs on the carrier continue, with a new equipment upgrade, but doubts remain about its operational future.

Russia Claims Ukrainian Agents Targeted Flagship Admiral Kuznetsov

Russian state media reported on Wednesday that the Federal Security Service (FSB) "thwarted an attempt by Ukrainian military intelligence to conduct a terrorist attack" on the Russian Navy's flagship aircraft carrier Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov, which is currently undergoing a refit in Murmansk.

According to a report from Tass, "an agent of the Ukrainian special services" attempted to incite a Russian serviceman to conduct a "terrorist attack" on the carrier. The Ukrainian operative – described only as "Oleg" – had reportedly contacted the Russian citizen via the Telegram and WhatsApp social messaging platforms.

"After the [Russian] officer informed security services, measures to document 'Oleg's' unlawful activity and expose potential agents and accomplices of the Kiev regime were taken as part of an operative game under the full control of the Russian security services," the FSB announced in a media statement.

The FSB further claimed that Ukraine's special services had sent various components that could be employed to assemble an "explosive incendiary device" (a bomb).

"(The Russian servicemember) was assured that as soon as (Ukrainian intelligence) received video confirmation of an arson attack on the aircraft carrier he would be evacuated to Finland and that papers and remuneration had already been prepared for him at a cache on the border," the FSB added. "The detainee confessed that in May 2024 he was recruited by an employee of the Ukrainian military intelligence and agreed to carry out assignments related to the preparation of terrorist acts on the territory of Russia for material reward."

Moscow's claims have yet to be independently verified.

Russia Claims Repairs Continue on the Aircraft Carrier

State media further reported that repairs on the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier are continuing in a "normal mode," but it did not indicate when the Russian Navy's flagship could be returned to service.

"Russia's sole aircraft carrier will get new equipment during its repairs, in particular, a new ski-jump deck, a propulsion unit, cable runways, a deck-based aircraft take-off and landing control system and a navigation system," a follow-up report from Tass noted. Last July, officials claimed the warship could reenter service by the end of 2024 following sea trials, but any problems could push the timeline back to 2025.

The Russian news outlet also quoted a source in the shipbuilding industry who said "The aircraft carrier's service life will be extended by 20 years after its repairs and upgrade."

Admiral Kuznetsov

Yet, Western observers have questioned whether the ship will even be fit for service, and expecting it to operate for even another decade may seem optimistic.

The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier entered drydock in 2018 and was originally slated to reenter service by 2020.

As previously reported by The National Interest, the warship's refit and upgrade has been plagued by numerous mishaps including fires, while a crane fell on the flight deck hampering repair efforts on the Admiral Kuznetsov.

Author Experience and Expertise: Peter Suciu

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: [email protected].

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