Ship boat

Ukrainians sank a Russian ship a week after US training on a missile launcher

Ukrainians who allegedly sank a Russian warship in June with Western-supplied weapons had received training sponsored by the United States and its allies a week or two earlier, according to the US Undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment.

While talking to the Defense News At a conference on Wednesday, Dr. William LaPlante said Ukraine had been given Harpoon anti-ship missiles by an unspecified US ally. A billion-dollar aid package for Ukraine that the Pentagon announced on June 15 included two Harpoon coastal defense systems. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also announced in May that Denmark had agreed to supply Ukraine with Harpoon missiles and a launcher, Reuters reported.

LaPlante said the on-board missile launchers were removed from the unidentified ally’s ship and modified so they could fire from a flatbed truck, Defense News reported.

“He brought Ukrainians to train over Memorial Day weekend in our country, and the following week two Russian ships were sunk,” he said. This year, Memorial Day fell on May 30.

Weapons supplied by the West have become a much talked about element in the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, which has been going on for more than six months. Ukrainian and US officials, for example, have repeatedly touted the use of US-provided High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) against Russia.

Above, a Harpoon anti-ship missile is pictured being fired from a fast frigate at sea. Ukrainians who sank a Russian warship in June with Harpoon anti-ship missiles are said to have received training sponsored by the United States and its allies, according to the United States Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment.
Dirck Halstead/Getty Images

The Defense News report identified the ship that Ukraine used Harpoon missiles to sink as the Vasily Bekh, a tug of the Russian Navy. Ukraine said in mid-June it struck and shot down the Russian ship as it headed for Snake Island in the Black Sea. The Ukrainian Navy said the Russian boat was carrying soldiers, weapons and ammunition to the island when it was hit by two Harpoon missiles, according to Reuters.

Ukraine announced later that month that it had retaken Snake Island from Russia, although Moscow said it had pulled out as a “goodwill gesture”. Noting the end of the Russian occupation of Snake Island, a senior US defense official said in a July 1 briefing that “the Ukrainians have been very successful in exerting significant pressure on the Russians, including using these harpoon missiles they recently acquired to attack a supply ship.”

“And when you realize how barren and deserted Snake Island is, you – you understand the importance of resupply. So the Ukrainians made it very difficult for the Russians to maintain their operations there, made them, you know , highly vulnerable to Ukrainian strikes,” the official said. “So that’s, of course, the reason why Russia left the island and, you know, it’s not a panacea of ​​course, but it makes it much easier to defend Odessa and in the future , the possibility of opening these seas without Russia controlling Snake Island.”

Newsweek contacted the Defense Ministries of Russia and Ukraine for comment.