The Russian Navy Is Dying in the Black Sea Thanks to Ukraine

Sea Shadow Missile used on Russian Navy in Black Sea
January 2, 2024 Topic: military Region: Europe Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: Russian NavyBlack SeaUkraineWar In UkraineRussian Navy

The Russian Navy Is Dying in the Black Sea Thanks to Ukraine

On December 26, the Ukrainian military carried out an air strike against the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the port town of Feodosia in Crimea.

The war in Ukraine continues with no end in sight. Indeed, as the weeks go by, it is increasingly looking likely that the conflict will drag out well into 2024. 

The latest big news to come out of the war is the destruction of another expensive Russian warship with Western-provided munitions. 

NATO Weapons are Hitting Russia Hard in the Black Sea 

On December 26, the Ukrainian military carried out an air strike against the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the port town of Feodosia in Crimea.

Using a combination of Storm Shadow and SCALP-EG cruise missiles, the Ukrainian Air Force destroyed the landing ship Novocherkask, as well as port facilities. 

Moscow was using the warship to transfer ammunition from Russia to the Crimean Peninsula because successive Ukrainian attacks against the Kerch Bridge that connects southern Russia and Crimea made it unwise to transfer munitions that way. 

“This latest destruction of Putin's navy demonstrates that those who believe there's a stalemate in the Ukraine war are wrong!” British Secretary of Defense Grant Shapps said on X. 

“They haven't noticed that over the past 4 months 20% of Russia's Black Sea Fleet has been destroyed,” the British official added. 

Since the war started, the Ukrainians have sunk, destroyed, or damaged 11 Russin warships, including the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet “The Moskva” and an attack submarine

“Russia's dominance in the Black Sea is now challenged and the new UK & Norway led Maritime Capability Coalition is helping to ensure Ukraine will win at sea,” Shapps stated. 

In the wake of the attack, Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk, the commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, verified that the missiles destroyed the Russian vessel. So, once again, the Russian Navy lost a valuable vessel from Ukrainian weapons provided by the West. 

Storm Shadow and SCALP-EG Cruise Missiles 

Essentially sister weapon systems—they were designed and developed jointly back in the 1990s—the Storm Shadow and SCALP-EG are air-to-ground cruise missiles with warheads of around 1,000lbs that can reliably hit targets up to 250 miles away. Equipped with an array of countermeasures, the cruise missiles are extremely difficult to be intercepted by air defenses. This combination of pinpoint accuracy, range, explosive load, and countermeasures makes the Storm Shadow and SCALP-EG particularly deadly in the hands of a capable military. 

In the case of Ukraine, the United Kingdom made the first move by giving Kyiv an unspecified number of Storm Shadow munitions back in May. At the time, the move was groundbreaking in the West’s security assistance to Ukraine and opened Kyiv’s appetite for more advanced weapon systems. 

It didn’t have to wait long. In July, French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to transfer an unspecified number of SCALP-EG cruise missiles to Ukraine after a NATO summit. 

Kyiv has modified a number of attack and fighter jet aircraft, including MiG-29 Fulcrums, Su-27 Flankers, and Su-24 Fencers, to accommodate the cruise missiles.

Judging from the results over the past eight months or so, the Ukrainians have been extremely successful in their modifications and usage of Western munitions. That alone is a strong reason for the continuation of military aid to the embattled nation. 

About the Author 

Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense and national security journalist specializing in special operations. A Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), he holds a BA from the Johns Hopkins University and an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.