The Russian Navy has failed to cover itself in glory during the course of the war in Ukraine. The Black Sea Fleet suffered a major setback when its flagship, the Moskva, was sunk by Ukraine in April, after being hit by two R-360 Neptune missiles. The cruiser became the largest Russian warship to be sunk in wartime since the end of World War II and the first flagship sunk since the 1905 Russo-Japanese War.
Now, Russian naval commanders appear to have further tarnished their reputations after inflicting a spectacular own goal.
Reports suggest that a Black Sea Fleet landing craft was blown up after hitting a Russian mine near Mariupol.
Twitter user “English Luhansk” wrote: “Russian navy related Telegram channel reports that the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s Ondatra class landing craft D-106 hit a Russian sea mine near occupied Mariupol, calling it ‘a black day’.
Social media users showed little sympathy for the fate of the vessel and its crew as they were quick to add their own thoughts about the incident.
One wrote: “Woohoo, The Russians are gonna help clear the mines in the Black Sea, they’re off to a great start.”
While a second said: “It hit a Russian mine… great job.
“Russian ship starts de-mining their own mines.”
The Russian Navy is made up of four fleets – Pacific Fleet, Northern Fleet, Baltic Fleet and Black Sea Fleet.
Additionally, it also has one flotilla that patrols the Caspian Sea.
The Navy provides strategic deterrence through its nuclear capabilities, as well as homeland defence.
Before hostilities broke out in Ukraine, the Russian Navy had around 130,000 personnel and roughly 32 major surface vessels.
Russian military sources claim that it will be at least a year before the Admiral Kuzetsov can rejoin the combat fleet.
A report in the Russian state media TASS said: “The transfer of the Admiral Kuznetsov cruiser to the fleet after modernisation and all subsequent state tests will take place no earlier than in 2024.”
It comes as fighting continues to rage in Ukraine’s Donbas, where Russian forces are seeking to take the city of Lysychansk.
In its daily bulletin, the British Ministry of Defence said Putin’s army had made “minor advances” around the city.
However, the MoD noted that Ukrainian forces “probably continue to block Russian forces in the south-eastern outskirts of Lysychansk”.