Under the starry canvas of Sevastopol’s night sky, the city experienced a night of profound upheaval on September 13. In the quiet hours, powerful explosions reverberated through the streets, awakening the sleeping city. As dawn broke, the truth unveiled itself – a fire had erupted in the serene Southern Bay, within the hallowed grounds of the Sevastopol Shipyard, bearing the name of Ordzhonikidze.
Local Telegram channels transformed into witnesses of chaos, sharing vivid accounts of military ships and submarines silhouetted against the night, their presence illuminated by fiery infernos. Images and videos, reminiscent of an artist’s brushstrokes, captured the drama that unfolded.
Amidst this nocturnal symphony, occupying authorities declared a Ukrainian incursion and a fire in the Kilen-balka region, home to the 13th Ship Repair Plant. Sevastopol, gripped by disquiet, echoed with the dissonance of gunfire and explosions. Panic permeated the city, casting shadows in every corner. Unofficial whispers spoke of saboteur hunts, and in a surreal twist, even the occupiers turned their weapons inward.
With the rising sun, the Russian Ministry of Defense painted a picture of ten missiles arcing across the firmament, three finding their mark. Satellite imagery unveiled scars of fire in the Southern Bay, bearing testimony to the night’s tumult. In the narrative of this midnight ballet, three unmanned boats met their demise.
Officially acknowledged were the wounds inflicted upon two ships undergoing tender care in dry docks – the venerable diesel-electric submarine Rostov-on-Don and the noble giant, the landing ship Minsk. The canvas also bore the sobering marks of human cost: two lives extinguished, and 26 souls marred by the ordeal, none among them bearing the shipyard’s insignia.
As daylight persisted, Minsk smoldered on, a testament not merely to damage, but the obliteration of a dock landing ship. In this resplendent but harrowing spectacle, Oryx project analysts discerned a narrative etched in flames.
This tragic chapter adds to a saga of defiance, where Minsk joins the Saratov landing ship, a casualty in the Russian-occupied Berdyansk (March 2022), and the Olenegorsky Gornyak landing ship, waylaid by a surface drone near Novorossiysk (August 2023). Yet, it’s the submarine’s tale that reverberates through the annals of history.
The Submarine Rostov-on-Don: A Unique Legacy
Meet the Rostov-on-Don, a diesel-electric marvel from the 636.3 Varshavyanka project, part of the 4th Separate Brigade of Submarines within the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Named in homage to the city of Rostov-on-Don, her journey is one marked by determination and valor.
Born in the Admiralty Shipyard’s cradle in St. Petersburg in 2011, baptized by the sea’s embrace in 2014, and entrusted to the Black Sea Brigade nestled in Novorossiysk. The Rostov-on-Don is more than a vessel; she’s an embodiment of maritime legacy.
Even before the canvas of Ukraine’s struggle was painted, this silent guardian ventured beyond her Black Sea abode. In 2015, she orchestrated a symphony of missile strikes against ISIS, her potent crescendo echoing across the Mediterranean waves.
In the Black Sea’s strategic ballet, Russian submarines, including Rostov-on-Don, have danced to a tempestuous tune, taking turns on the stage of conflict. Armed with six torpedoes or four Kalibr missiles, this vessel wielded a formidable prowess. Today, the narrative whispers of losses, echoing through the sea’s depths.
The night of September 13, 2023, etched a chapter that history will remember, where Rostov-on-Don found herself entwined in a saga of resilience and defiance, in a tale both poignant and extraordinary.”