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US Harpoon Missiles Destroy a Heavily-Armed Russian Vessel in Black Sea


  • Ukrainian officials have said they struck a Russian tugboat in the Black Sea using two Harpoon missiles on Friday. 
  • It is the first time Ukraine has announced it has destroyed a Russian vessel with Western-supplied weapons. 
  • A statement from the Ukrainian military says the Harpoons used were given to Ukraine by the US. 

Ukrainian military officials have said they struck the Russian Navy’s Vasiliy Bekh tugboat in the Black Sea using two Harpoon missiles supplied by the US. 

The action marks the first time Ukraine has announced it has destroyed a Russian vessel with Western-supplied armaments.

On Friday, the attack was announced on Ukraine’s Armed Forces Strategic Communications Directorate’s Telegram channel. It published a video purporting to show the anti-ship missile blowing up the vessel. Insider could not independently verify the footage.

 

The head of the Odesa Regional Military Administration, Maxim Marchenko, said, “This morning, our naval forces struck the Black Sea Fleet support vessel Vasily Bekh, with the TOR anti-aircraft missile system on board. Later it became known that he sank.” 

 The Vasily Bekh was also transporting ammunition, weapons and personnel for the Black Sea Fleet to Snake Island, claimed the Ukrainian military.

A later message said the Harpoon anti-ship missiles, manufactured by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, were supplied to Ukraine as part of a multi-billion dollar aid package championed by President Joe Biden.  

The Russian missile cruiser "Moskva" moored on a sunny day in 2013 in Sevastopol

Russian missile cruiser Moskva is moored in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Sevastopol, Ukraine May 10, 2013. It was sunk by Ukraine in April 2022.

Reuters/Stringer/File photo


On June 15, the US Department of Defense said it would also supply truck-mounted Harpoons to bolster Ukraine’s coastal defenses.

As well as the US missiles, Ukraine has developed domestic sea warfare armaments and used them to devastating effect. In April, Ukrainian forces sank the Russian warship Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, with at least one of its home-built Neptune missiles.



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