Project 775: Russia OKs Overhauling ‘Badly Damaged’ Amphibious Assault Ship That Succumbed To Storm Shadow

Months after it was damaged in a storm shadow missile attack carried out by Ukraine, the large amphibious assault ship Minsk of Project 775 of the Baltic fleet is set to enter repairs in 2024.

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“The moored Minsk has damaged superstructure. The repairs will begin this year. The decision has been made,” an unknown source close to Crimean law enforcers told Russian News Agency TASS. The publication, however, has no official confirmation of the information.

On September 13, 2023, Ukraine attacked the Sevastopol Shipyard with a cruise missile, and the Minsk and the Rostov-on-Don diesel-electric submarine, which were undergoing an overhaul, received a massive hit. For one, the Minsk landing ship had sailed to the Black Sea in the days leading up to the Russian invasion.

In the aftermath of the attack, photographs of the damaged vessels were published on social media, with experts concluding that both ships appeared to have been damaged beyond repair. An open-source intelligence group following the war noted that “the Minsk Ropucha-class landing ship was not merely damaged, but destroyed.”

Soon after the strike, preliminary satellite footage showed severe damage to the submarine and the landing ship. The vessels themselves appeared to be partially burned out, and the stability of the entire dry dock complex where they were housed was also in jeopardy.

Downplaying the damage the two vessels had received, the Russian Defense Ministry stated that both the ships would undergo repairs as they weren’t severely compromised. 

However, the military intelligence of Ukraine said the attack destroyed Sevmorzavod’s infrastructure in addition to the two docked ships. A British intelligence analysis also noted that the dry docks will probably be closed for several months until the wreckage is removed.

Su-24 with Storm Shadow Missile

The attack was reportedly carried out using the vaunted long-range Storm Shadow missiles, as hinted by the Commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, who applauded the Ukrainian pilots for “storming” the Russians in Sevastopol, which is home to the Russian Black Sea fleet.

The attack was considered to be a severe blow to the Russian Navy, given that the Ukrainians had managed to take down the Project 636.3 Rostov-on-Don (B-237), which is an improved Kilo-class submarine can launch Kalibr land attack cruise missiles. This was the first submarine of the Russian Navy to have been supposedly damaged beyond repair, although even that claim more or less remains contested.

Due to its assistance to Russia’s Black Sea fleet, which has its headquarters there, Sevastopol has been the target of several missile attacks by Ukrainian forces. Ukraine is now better equipped to launch accurate strikes against strategic Russian targets that were previously unachievable, thanks to the UK’s Storm Shadow missiles.

After Russia unilaterally ended the grain deal, there has been an increase in hostilities in the Black Sea. Russian officials have reported on many purported Ukrainian strikes against targets in seized Crimea and Russian naval bases, coinciding with Russia’s start of striking Ukraine’s ports and agricultural facilities.

For instance, last month, two Ukrainian Su-24 aircraft launched missiles against the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s Project 775 Ropucha-class LPD at the Feodosiya port in Crimea, a sister ship of the Minsk landing craft that’s set to undergo repairs now.  With satellite photos, the damaged Project 775 LPD was recognized as “Novocherkassk.”

Rompucha-Class Assets Of The Russian Navy

The Russian Navy’s Minsk is a landing ship of the Ropucha class. The vessel was constructed for the Soviet Navy in the Gdańsk Shipyard in Poland, and it was put into service in 1983 and belongs to the Russian Baltic Fleet.

The ships of this class can carry 450 tons of cargo and were made for beach landings. The vessel’s hull is covered by a 630 square meter (6,800 square foot) vehicle deck, with doors for vehicle loading and unloading on both the bow and the back. Up to 25 armored personnel carriers can be accommodated in the vessel. 

Although they are made for roll-on/roll-off operations, dockside cranes can load them. To access the vehicle deck, an extended sliding hatch cover is located above the bow portion. The ship, however,  does not accommodate helicopters. 

Between 1975 and 1991, 28 ships of this kind were put into service. The latter three vessels were of the enhanced version, Ropucha II or Project 775M. These features enhanced defensive weaponry and expanded troop capacity.

Russia’s Rompucha-class vessel (via Platform X)

Following their invasion and seizure of Crimea in March 2014, Russian troops seized Kostiantyn Olshansky, the only ship of its class in the Ukrainian Navy, and forced it into duty.

The landing ships Korolev, Minsk, Kaliningrad, Pyotr Morgunov, Georgy Pobedonosets, and Olenegorsky Gornyak from the Baltic and Northern fleets left their bases. They crossed the Dardanelles Strait for Black Sea exercises in February 2022 before Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

A Ukrainian maritime drone carrying 450 kilograms (990 lb) of TNT struck Olenegorsky Gornyak at the Black Sea Novorossiysk naval facility early in August 2023, severely damaging it. The ship was seen being towed by tugboats, listing between forty and fifty degrees to port while they attempted to place it safely.

Attacks on Minsk later followed this. Earlier, TASS was reportedly informed by another Crimean source that Minsk was expected to receive the superstructure of the Konstantin Olshansky, a former large landing ship belonging to the Ukrainian Navy. Although EurAsian Times could not independently corroborate this information, the Ukrainian vessel was abandoned in Crimea in 2014, together with 20 other warships.