Demonstrating a significant escalation of tensions in the region, the head of Ukraine’s Air Force, Mykola Oleshchuk[1] announced on Saturday, November 4, 2023, that Ukrainian forces had carried out a missile attack on the Black Sea port of Kerch[2] . The attack resulted in the destruction of the state-of-the-art missile frigate “Askold,” which was one of five Project 22800 Karakurt vessels being built in Crimea. Remarkably, the Russian side also confirmed the attack[3] .

The destruction of the “Askold” marks a serious blow to the Russian Navy, as the Project 22800[4] Karakurt-type missile ships were prized for their versatility and advanced capabilities. What makes this incident particularly surprising is that the Karakurts, including the “Askold,” were heavily advertised as being well equipped to defend against air attacks[5] . Karakurts are also unique by the technical surveillance system integrated on board them. Its centerpiece is the Zasłon radar with four fixed wall antennas[6].

The loss of such a modern ship is a significant setback for Russian naval forces and underscores the gravity of the situation. The attack on the Black Sea port of Kerch shows a clear intention to select key military assets in the area as targets.

One of the most glaring concerns is the alleged protection enjoyed by the city of Kerch, including the presence of anti-aircraft systems installed on the strategically important Kerch Bridge. These defenses were designed to deter potential threats and maintain the security of the region, including the seaport. The fact that the “Askold” was destroyed within the city limits calls into question the effectiveness of these defense systems.

The “Askold” incident has sparked interest both at home and abroad, with Western governments and media closely monitoring the situation. Russia’s reluctance to provide a full account of the incident has only fueled speculation and skepticism, complicating its diplomatic relations and international image.

The mysterious destruction of the “Askold” demonstrated that in a complex geopolitical environment, even the most advanced military technology may not guarantee security. It is a stark reminder of the fragile balance of power in the region and the ever-present potential for unexpected events that can change the dynamics of conflicts and alliances.



[1] Pending official confirmation, I would like to once again thank the Air Force tactical aviation pilots for their successful cruise missile attacks on the infrastructure of the Zaliv shipbuilding facility in Kerch, where one of the most modern ships of the Russian Federation Black Sea Fleet, which can be armed with Kalibr cruise missiles, was stationed. – online [accessed: 7.11.2023 r.]

[2] Ibidem.

[3] Wołodymyr Zełenski confirms destruction of Russian ship in Kerch [accessed: 7.11.2023 r.]

[4] The main armament of the Project 22800 Karakurt ships is an eight-chambered 3S-14 universal vertical launcher of the UKSK system for Kalibr-NK cruise missiles (alternatively, they can use P-800 Oniks). In addition, they have a single 76.2-mm AK-176MA naval cannon, two 12.7-mm Kord machine guns, two twin 30-mm AK-630M cannons, eight Needle-S portable anti-aircraft missile sets and two Pancyr-ME artillery-missile sets. – online, [accessed: 7.11.2023 r.]

[5] Compromise of the “Karakurts”. Russian “Mini AEGIS” hit by Ukrainian missiles – online [accessed: 7.11.2023 r.]

[6] Rosja: Flota Czarnomorska czeka na pierwszego „Karakurta” – online [dostęp 7.11.2023 r.]


Tekst powstał w ramach realizacji zadania publicznego zleconego w ramach Rządowego Programu Rozwoju Organizacji Obywatelskich na lata 2018–2030 r. „Bezpieczna Polska jutra – rozwój działań misyjnych Alioth Foundation”.