On the morning of June 17, the Ukrainian Naval Forces reported the defeat of the tug of the Russian Black Sea Fleet “Vasily Bekh” near Zmiiny (Snake) Island in the Black Sea.
From the video of this event, published in the media, the Russian naval ship was hit by two missiles, which caused a significant fire. Ukrainian sources report ten missing and another twenty wounded Russian servicemen, as well as a “rescue operation” carried out by Russian courts.
We have already written that the build-up by the occupiers of their own grouping on Zmiiny Island is of exceptional importance for the aggressor in terms of extending the criminal blockade of Ukrainian ports and for preparing all kinds of provocations by Russian invaders against the coast of Ukraine in the Odesa Region.
At the same time, as has already been reported, the Russian Black Sea Fleet is unable to secure its own communications between the occupied Crimea and Zmiiny Island from attacks by the Ukrainian army, which is clearly evidenced by the current situation.
It is worth adding that in general, the Russian fleet had four tugboats of the corresponding project built in Astrakhan, including the last one in the “SB-739” project, transferred by the aggressor to the occupied Sevastopol in January 2017. In 2021, “SB-739” was re-named as “Spasatel Vasily Bekh”, and the Black Sea Fleet also has its “older brother”, the same type of tugboat “Professor Nikolai Muru”.
The crew of these tugs, equipped with underwater vehicles and diving systems, is up to 30 people, and they can also carry up to 36 “rescued” persons.
It is noteworthy that these tugs are not high-speed, but by definition they must have increased survivability. The cessation of the construction of ships of this project in Astrakhan since 2016 is associated with the sanctions of the world’ civilized countries against the Russian military-industrial complex.
The use by the aggressor of ships of this type to transport reinforcements to the invaders’ garrison on Zmiiny Island indicates that the Russian fleet cannot use other specialized ships, including high-speed ones, for this purpose, or does not want to risk them.
At the same time, the loss of the aggressor’s most modern rescue ship by the Black Sea Fleet will also significantly reduce its practical ability to carry out further military operations.