Ukraine has sunk a Russian vessel using newly-supplied Harpoon anti-ship missiles, British military intelligence confirmed this week.
The Russian vessel Spasatel Vasily Bekh was reportedly attempting to deliver weapons and additional troops to a strategic Ukrainian territory when it was neutralized by opposing forces.
It was seen carrying a Tor-M2MK anti-aircraft missile system, but it was not confirmed if the weapon was part of the vessel’s defense system or if it was just being transported to support invading Russian personnel.
The sinking of Spasatel Vasily Bekh in the Black Sea is Kyiv’s first successful attack using western-donated missiles, according to British intel.
According to the report, the incident demonstrated the difficulties Russia faces providing logistical support to their forces on Snake Island near Odessa.
Russia’s continuing blockade of the island has impacted Kyiv’s ability to export global supplies such as grain, resulting in an international crisis.
#Ukraine: Big news from the Black Sea- the Ukrainian Navy claims to have destroyed the Russian "Vasily Bekh" rescue vessel, as it travelled to the famous Snake Island; it reportedly had a Tor-M2KM SAM system on board.
The strike was filmed by a TB-2 drone; 2 munitions are used. pic.twitter.com/pCjMf2RX4d
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) June 17, 2022
According to the US Naval Air Systems Command, the Harpoon is an all-weather, over-the-horizon anti-ship missile system that uses mid-course guidance to attack enemy surface ships.
Its active radar guidance, sea-skimming cruise trajectory, and sophisticated warhead design ensure the weapon’s high survivability and effectiveness in neutralizing threats.
Last week, Ukraine announced that it had deployed the Harpoon anti-ship missiles it received from Denmark.
The weapons are expected to strengthen the country’s coastal defense, as it has relied solely on the locally-built Neptune anti-ship missile system.
‘Effective’ Coastal Defense
The British defense ministry explained that the successful attack on a Russian ship reflects Ukraine’s effectiveness in defending its coast against various threats.
It also stressed that Ukraine has “largely neutralized” Moscow’s ability to establish sea control in the northwestern Black Sea.
In April, Ukraine sank Russia’s Black Sea Fleet flagship the Moskva with two Neptune anti-ship missiles.
The attack, considered the “most embarrassing” blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin, was reportedly aided by US intelligence.
The Ukrainian army also revealed earlier this month that it had repelled Russia’s Black Sea Fleet more than one hundred kilometers from Ukraine’s coast.