Ship part

Despite Ukrainian claims, Russian Navy support ship appears unscathed

The Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet has released photos that appear to show Vsevolod Bobrov safely on the dock in Sevastopol (Russian Navy/Telegram)

Posted on May 15, 2022 8:52 PM by

The Maritime Executive

US-backed news outlet Radio Svoboda has confirmed reports that the Russian Naval Auxiliary Vsevolod Bobrov returned safely to Sevastopol with no apparent signs of damage.

Last Thursday, two Ukrainian officials claimed that the Bobrov had been hit by a Ukrainian attack in the Black Sea and caught fire, without providing video or photographic evidence. “As a result of the actions of our Navy, the Vsevolod Bobrov logistics ship, one of the newest in the Russian fleet, set on fire. They say she is limping towards Sevastopol,” said Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesman for the Odessa regional military administration. Bratchuk acknowledged that the strike still needed to be confirmed.

Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, made a similar claim in a social media post on Thursday.

However, photos recently uploaded by the Telegram channel of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet appeared to show the Bobrov on the starboard side, safely moored in Sevastopol and without visible damage. The photos were accompanied by a claim that the Bobrov is intact.

Separately, time-lapse security camera video uploaded by a Russian-speaking user on May 14 (below) appears to show the Bobrov moving to his berth. Both sides of the vessel are depicted in the video and there are no apparent signs of damage.

In addition, a local correspondent in Crimea has confirmed to Radio Svoboda, supported by the United States, that the Bobrov safely returned to port.

Ukrainian officials also recently claimed a successful hit on the Russian frigate Admiral Makarov, the most advanced remaining surface combatant in the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The report has not been confirmed, and photos appearing to show the Makarov in Sevastopol safe and sound circulated online.

At the start of the invasion, the Ukrainian army also claimed to have hit a Russian patrol boat, the Vasily Bykov, using an unguided rocket artillery system. The strike was not confirmed and video footage of the Bykov return to Sevastopol safe and sound circulated on Russian-speaking social networks.

There may be legitimate grounds to question some of Ukraine’s naval action claims, but the Russian Navy also suffered serious confirmed losses during the conflict, including the dramatic destruction of a landing ship from Alligator class at Berdyansk (claimed by Ukraine) and the loss of the cruiser Moscowthe flagship of the Black Sea Fleet (alleged by Ukraine and confirmed by the United States). The Ukrainian military also released video footage of airstrikes on several Raptor-class patrol boats and a smaller landing craft at Snake Island, a strategic outpost in the Black Sea.