Ukrainian Navy scuttles flagship as Russia advances on Mykolaiv

Defence minister says Kyiv ‘building new fleet’

Liam James
Monday 07 March 2022 14:15
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<p>Hetman Sahaidachny was sunk in Black Sea harbour </p>

Hetman Sahaidachny was sunk in Black Sea harbour

The Ukrainian navy said it scuttled its flagship frigate to prevent Russian invaders from being able to take over the ship.

The commanding officer of the Hetman Sahaidachny, the only frigate possessed by the Ukraine navy, was ordered to sink the vessel due to fear of the Russian advance in the Black Sea.

The 30-year-old ship had been moored in the southern port city of Mykolaiv for repairs, but was intentionally flooded and laid to rest in the harbour.

The scuttling took place on the first day of the invasion, Oleksiy Goncharenko, a local MP, said, but the ship’s fate was not immediately made public by officials.

Oleksii Reznikov, Ukrainian defence minister, said in a Facebook post on Friday: “The commander of the VMSU flagship executed the order to flood the ship so that the frigate 'Hetman Sagaidachny', which was under repair, did not reach the enemy.

“It is hard to imagine a more difficult decision for the brave warrior and the entire team. But we are building a new fleet. Modern, powerful.”

He told Ukrainians “the main thing now is to resist” as the war entered its second week.

“The enemy is terrified and afraid. We have not defeated him yet. But that time is surely coming,” he said.

Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to president Volodymyr Zelensky, said Ukrainian forces foiled an attempt by Russian soldiers to take control of Mykolaiv, a major Black Sea port and shipbuilding centre along the estuary of the Southern Bug river.

The city of around 500,000 lies to the east of Kherson, a port city captured by Russia this week.

Ukrainian artillery also defended Odesa from repeated attempts by Russian ships to fire on the Black Sea port, Mr Arestovic said. Odesa is Ukraine's biggest port city and home to a large naval base.

Another strategic port, Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, was "partially under siege", and Ukrainian forces were pushing back efforts to surround the city, Mr Arestovich said.

By Friday, Moscow was in control of a large stretch of Ukraine’s southeast coast and areas on the eastern and northern fringes of the country along the Russian and Belarusian borders.

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