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Russia Ukraine War

Kremlin Battleship Burns: Ukraine Intelligence Announce Kaliningrad Sabotage

A cryptic post from Ukraine’s military intelligence (GUR) detailed a fire aboard a Russian missile ship, the “Serpukhov,” docked in Kaliningrad’s Baltic Sea enclave. The incident, which reportedly took place on 7th April 2024, targeted a Project 21631 Buyan-M class vessel launched by Russia in 2015. The specifics of the alleged attack remain unclear, with both the cause of the fire and the extent of the damage shrouded in uncertainty.

A Kyiv Independent source confirms Ukrainian military intelligence operatives were behind the fire that crippled the Russian missile ship. If verified, this attack marks a significant development in the ongoing war, as it is the first attack on a Russian naval asset in the Baltic Sea, signifying Ukraine’s growing ability to strike Russian assets far beyond its borders.

GUR released a video on Telegram that purportedly shows the ship’s blueprints at the Kaliningrad naval base, followed by footage from inside the vessel depicting the start of a fire. The agency claims the fire “disabled” the Serpukhov and “completely destroyed” its communication and automation systems. 

A tough coastal warship, the Serpukhov packs a deadly arsenal of anti-ship missiles and air defences into its compact frame.

Ukraine’s intelligence agency claiming repairs to the Serpukhov will be a lengthy process. Their statement, “Restoration of combat capability ‘Serpukhov’ will require a long time,” indicates significant damage beyond just the fire-ravaged communication and automation systems. This could suggest structural damage from the fire itself, or harm to critical internal components.

A lengthy repair timeline not only removes the Serpukhov from active duty for a potentially extended period, but also strains Russian resources.  Dockyard capacity and spare parts availability will be stretched thin, especially considering the ongoing war effort.

The Telegram post concludes with a triumphant “The roar knows no bounds. To be continued!” suggesting further Ukrainian operations behind enemy lines.

Russia has yet to officially comment on the incident.

Val Dockrell is a London-based Senior Investigator and Open Source Intelligence (“OSINT”) specialist who has led in-depth investigations in multiple jurisdictions around the world. She also speaks several languages and is a member of the Fraud Women’s Network. Her X (formerly Twitter) handle is @ValDockrell.