The landing ship has sunk with its cargo, according to the Ukrainian GUR

Images of the destruction of the Russian ship 'Caesar Kunikov' by Ukraine

The Russian navy has once again suffered a severe blow in the Black Sea, after the sinking of the corvette "Ivanovets" on February 1.

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This time the Russian ship attacked by Ukrainian forces was the landing ship "Caesar Kunikov" (BDK-64), of the Ropucha class, built in Gdańsk, Poland, for the Soviet navy in the 1980s and launched on October 30, 1986. This ship was 112.5 meters long, 15 meters wide and had a displacement of 2,812 tons.

The "Caesar Kunikov" during shooting practice in the Black Sea in February 2021, a year before the invasion of Ukraine (Photo: Russian Ministry of Defense).

That ship had been serving in the Russian Black Sea Fleet for many years, being based in Sevastopol, Crimea, as part of the 197th Landing Ship Brigade. In 2015 he was sent to Syria with a shipment of weapons and ammunition for the army of the dictator Hafez al-Assad. The "Caesar Kunikov" participated in Russian operations during the invasion of Ukraine, being damaged in a Ukrainian attack on Berdyansk on March 24, 2022.

The ship "Caesar Kunikov" during the Caucasus 2020 exercise of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, in September 2020. In this photo we see the bow hatches of the ship slightly open. These gates were used to disembark vehicles (Photo: Russian Ministry of Defense).

On April 18, 2022, the official Russian agency RIA Novosti reported that the ship's commander, Captain Alexander Chirva , died during the invasion. The agency did not communicate when his death occurred, limiting itself to pointing out that "he died from a wound received during a special operation in Ukraine", probably due to the attack. Ukrainian of March 24 of that year.

A BMD-2 amphibious infantry fighting vehicle disembarking from the ship "Caesar Kunikov" (Photo: Russian Ministry of Defense).

The misfortunes for the ship did not stop there. In August 2022, a Russian media reported that the ship was out of service due to lack of spare parts, because Poland - the ship's manufacturer in communist times - had supplied defective injectors and it was not possible to buy new ones in good condition due to the European sanctions against Russia for the invasion of Ukraine.

A BMD-2 amphibious infantry fighting vehicle inside the ship "Caesar Kunikov" (Photo: Russian Ministry of Defense).

This morning, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine (GUR) reported a Ukrainian attack on the "Caesar Kunikov" off the coast of occupied Crimea, noting that the ship "received critical holes in the left side and began to sink. It is symbolic that the Russian officer after whom the ship was named died exactly 81 years ago." Indeed, Major Caesar Kunikov of the Soviet Navy died on February 14, 1943, after being injured on February 12 of that year by the explosion of a maritime sight.

In its statement, the GUR adds: "The large amphibious ship "Caesar Kunikov" of project 775 is one of the newest Russian ships. It could accommodate 87 crew members on board. It was used by terrorist Moscow during the wars against Georgia, Syria and Ukraine. The search and rescue operation for the occupiers was unsuccessful".

The GUR has published this video of the destruction of the ship, in which we see several Ukrainian naval drones attacking the "Caesar Kunikov" from various angles, causing a strong explosion and causing the ship to begin to sink . The video bears the logo of the GUR unit Group 13, the same one that sank the corvette "Ivanovets" two weeks ago:

We can see here some screenshots of the video, recorded with infrared, indicating that the attack occurred at night, when the ship had less capacity to visually detect the Ukrainian naval drones. In this image we see the "Caesar Kunikov" seen from starboard by the camera of one of the Ukrainian naval drones.

The Ukrainian attack caused a powerful explosion on board, as already happened with the corvette "Ivanovets" two weeks ago.

In the following image we can see the serious damage caused by the Ukrainian attack on the superstructure of the Russian ship.

The Russian ship beginning to sink from the stern. On the left we see the bow somewhat raised above the surface of the sea.

Finally, in this last capture we see half the ship already sunk, with the stern already below the surface of the water.

This noon, el GUR has published Russian communications from the sinking site that have been intercepted by Ukrainian intelligence. In it, according to the GUR, a Russian pilot is heard stating: "I see remains of the ship and an oil stain.".

The GUR has noted that the "Cesar Kunikov" was parked for ten days near a specialized mooring dock, "from where the occupants load the ships with weapons and military equipment". The Ukrainian intelligence service adds: "According to a preliminary visual assessment of the ship's draft, the "Caesar Kunikov" was loaded during the sinking."


Main photo: Russian Ministry of Defense. The ship "Caesar Kunikov" in a photo taken in spring 2019.

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