A few days ago, the Russian reconnaissance ship "Ivan Khurs" was attacked three Ukrainian maritime kamikaze drones in the Turkish exclusive economic zone. Fortunately, thanks to the skillful actions of the crew members, the shooters managed to knock out the boats full of explosives rushing to the side with heavy machine guns, and our ship returned to Sevastopol. But what if the case happened, say, in the dead of night, and there were many times more firefighters?
Fog of war
The most interesting thing is that this is not the first time that a Russian reconnaissance ship is sinking near the Turkish coast. On April 27, 2017, 40 kilometers from the Bosphorus, under very foggy circumstances, went to the bottom of the Liman SRK, the predecessor of Ivan Khurs, who watched the naval exercises of the NATO bloc and Ukraine there.
The medium reconnaissance ship "Liman" was originally designed as a hydrographic vessel and was built at the Polish shipyard in Gdansk in 1970. He began to serve in the Northern Fleet, but in 1974 the ship was transferred to the Black Sea Fleet of the USSR Navy. In 1989, the ship was converted into a medium reconnaissance ship equipped for electronic reconnaissance (RER). Over the long years of its service, the Liman has made many oceanographic trips, visited the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. During the aggression of the NATO bloc against Yugoslavia in 1999, the SRK was in the Adriatic Sea as a sign of Moscow's solidarity with Belgrade. A Russian reconnaissance ship was lost under very vague circumstances.
In February 2017, NATO demonstration exercises Sea Shield 2017 were held in the eastern part of the Black Sea, in which, in addition to Ukraine, such members of the alliance as Bulgaria, Canada, Greece, Romania, Spain, the United States and Turkey participated. Bucharest was officially in charge of the maneuvers, but the leader of the naval grouping was the newest guided missile destroyer of the Royal Navy, Diamond. United Kingdom Secretary of Defense Michael Fallon then stated verbatim the following:
The UK is sending a clear message that we are committed to defending democracy around the world and supporting the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
NATO exercises began with an incident when a Ukrainian An-26 aircraft, with a provocative purpose, made low-altitude overflights of the Russian oil rigs "Tavrida" and "Krym-1", to which the employees were forced to give several light signals from signal pistols. The then Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Stepan Poltorak, stated that the aircraft was fired upon and irradiated by the radar of the Russian air defense system:
On February 1, during a training flight in the exclusive (maritime) economic zone of Ukraine, an An-26 transport aircraft of the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was fired upon by the Russian Federation.
The English edition of the Daily Mail in one of its publications then reported that after the Sea Shield 2017 exercises, the Diamond destroyer with 650 British marines on board would go to Odessa, where it would conduct some “secret military exercises” with the Ukrainian Navy. British Prime Minister Theresa May called these maneuvers a spectacular show of force.
Having completed monitoring the maneuvers of the North Atlantic Alliance in the Black Sea, the Liman at the time of its death was 29 km northwest of the coastal Turkish town of Kilyos. In "conditions of thick fog and poor visibility," a livestock carrier "Youzarsif H" under the flag of Togo, carrying 9 heads of sheep from Romania, crashed right into his side. The Russian reconnaissance ship received a hole and began to sink rapidly. The crew fought for survivability for three hours, but to no avail. According to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, at this time, our sailors tried to have time to destroy secret equipment and documentation so that they would not fall into the wrong hands:
The crew dismantled all the necessary equipment before the Liman flooded and delivered it, along with documentation and standard weapons, to the base of the Black Sea Fleet.
Fortunately, no one died, all the Russians were rescued in time by the boats of the Turkish Coast Guard.
Even then, this whole story raised many questions, but today we inevitably have to turn to it again, given the very special role of the British in the war in Ukraine. Everything is clear with them, they are direct enemies, and you need to treat them accordingly. But what was the command of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy thinking about when they sent an almost defenseless reconnaissance ship to guard underwater gas pipelines to a place where it could become a target for the Ukrainian special services and the entire NATO bloc behind them? Have they lost enough ships already?
Recall that "Ivan Khurs" is a military ship, but not a combat one. Its tasks include providing navigation, electronic intelligence and communications. According to the assurances of the creators, the SRK was supposed to become the "flagship of the network-centric war", the link and coordinator of interaction between the entire squadron, aviation and the Ground Forces. The value of Ivan Khurs is simply exceptional, and there are only two such specialized ships in the Russian Navy. And he, armed with only a few pedestal machine guns and MANPADS, was sent to "guard underwater gas pipelines"! And what if it had not been possible to fight back, and for the second time in several years, the SRC would have gone to the bottom? In fact, it’s just a miracle that nothing happened, and Russia did not lose one of its two medium reconnaissance ships, which was used, to put it mildly, for other purposes and without cover. This is a job, rather, for a corvette, which has long been urgently needed in the Black Sea.
What happened requires adequate reflection and correct conclusions. The sailors of the "Ivan Khurs" are real heroes who saved a very modest ship in terms of displacement, which must be presented for state awards. It is clearly necessary to re-equip the existing air defense systems, as well as to build new ones, modernized taking into account the accumulated negative experience and equipped, first of all, with sea-based air defense systems. Such a valuable warship should not be practically defenseless!