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'Olenegorsky Gornyak' is defeated: Navy experts comment on downed Russian ship

'Olenegorsky Gornyak' is defeated: Navy experts comment on downed Russian ship Another "pride" of the Russian Navy shot down near Novorossiysk (Photo:

It appears that the Russian Federation has suffered another military ship loss. During the night of August 4, the large landing ship "Olenegorsky Gornyak" sustained significant damage near Novorossiysk.

What happened?

During the night, maritime drones attacked Russian facilities near the port of Novorossiysk. Based on photos and videos from social media, another ship was struck. Specifically, it listed to its port side.

Reports also mentioned gunfire and explosions in the waters near Novorossiysk and the village of Myskhako. The Caspian Pipeline Consortium's (CPC) marine terminal is in the port.

According to witnesses, there were bright flashes in the area. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the drones could have targeted an oil beacon—a remote oil reception system in the sea. The company stated that its infrastructure was unaffected, and oil loading continues regularly, although maritime navigation was temporarily restricted.

Governor of Krasnodar Krai Veniamin Kondratyev stated that Russian military forces repelled attacks from two maritime drones, resulting in "no casualties or destruction." The Mayor of Novorossiysk, Andriy Kravchenko, clarified that the large landing ship "Olenegorsky Gornyak" and the anti-sabotage boat "Suvorovets" were involved in the defense.

The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed this was an attempt to attack the naval base.

"Unmanned boats were visually detected and destroyed by fire from the standard weapons of Russian ships that are responsible for guarding the external raid of the naval base," their statement said.

However, there might be conflicting information among the Russian authorities. As of the afternoon, attempts were still being made to tow the BDK "Olenegorsky Gornyak" to the port berth.

Is there a Ukrainian involvement?

Officially, the Ukrainian side has not confirmed its involvement in the attack. During a televised marathon, Natalia Humeniuk, the Head of the United Coordinating Press Center of Security and Defense Forces of the South of Ukraine, mentioned that the explosions near Novorossiysk could be a provocation.

However, our sources indicate this is another operation by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

"Due to the attack, the 'Olenegorsky Gornyak' sustained a serious breach and cannot fulfill its combat tasks. Thus, all claims by the Russians about a 'repelled attack' are false," sources within the SBU reported.

They also provided video footage from the drone camera that attacked the BDK.

Sources within the security agencies said that the "Olenegorsky Gornyak," with approximately 100 personnel onboard, was hit by a maritime drone carrying 450 kg of TNT.

Dmytro Pletenchuk, the spokesperson for the Ukrainian Navy, stated that the Ukrainian Navy was not involved in the incident near Novorossiysk.

"I can't comment on the operation of maritime drones if that's indeed what they were. I can mention that according to already confirmed information, there is damage to the landing ship 'Olenegorskiy Gorniak,' a large Russian landing ship... It seems this ship won't return home," he said during the televised marathon.

Key points about the "Olenegorsky Gornyak"

It is a large landing ship of Project 775, based in the Northern Fleet and belonging to the 121st Brigade of Landing Ships.

It was built at the Stocznia Polnocna shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, and entered service in 1976. Until 1977, it was designated as SDK-91 and then VDK-91. It was named "Olenegorskiy Gorniak" in 2000 after being adopted by the Olenegorsk Mining and Enrichment Plant (Murmansk Oblast).

In 2007, it was recognized as the best landing ship in the Northern Fleet of the Russian Federation. Currently, Russia has 16 large landing ships of Project 775.

'Olenegorsky Gornyak' is defeated: Navy experts comment on downed Russian ship

Photo: Russia has a total of 16 ships of the Olenegorsky Gornyak type (commons wikimedia org UserKora27)

"Approximately 3-4 on each of the four fleets. Currently, there are LSTs (large landing ships) from the Baltic and Northern Fleets in the Black Sea. Specifically, the 'Olenegorskiy Gorniak' entered here the day before a full-scale invasion," stated Volodymyr Zablotskyi, a naval expert and observer at Defence Express.

Before the war with Ukraine, landing ships supported the Russian group in Syria, delivering weapons, ammunition, and other cargo.

"They were called the 'Syrian Express,' meaning they were not inspected and freely passed through the Bosporus. The movement was constant—one ship in and one out every day," he added.

The 'Olenegorsky Gornyak' entered the Black Sea on February 9, 2022, ostensibly for training. It was initially based in the occupied Sevastopol but later relocated to Novorossiysk due to constant drone attacks.

n open sources, the following main specifications are indicated:

  • Speed: 18 knots
  • Range: 6,000 miles at 12 knots
  • Crew: 98 personnel
  • Displacement: 4,080 tons
  • Length: 112.5 meters
  • Width: 15 meters
  • Draft: 3.7 meters

Propulsion: 2 diesel engines, two screws (combined power: 19,200 hp)

The 'Olenegorsky Gornyak' can carry up to 500 tons of cargo and 225 paratroopers. However, according to Zablotskyi, configurations could vary:

  • Ten medium tanks (weighing up to 40 tons) and 150 paratroopers
  • 12 light tanks and 150 paratroopers
  • Three medium tanks, 3 "Nona" self-propelled howitzers, five armored transport vehicles (MTLB), four trucks, and 313 paratroopers
  • 20 trucks, 150 paratroopers, and 500 tons of cargo

A light target for maritime drones

The 'Olenegorskiy Gorniak' is armed with two twin 57mm artillery installations AK-725, launch systems for the A-215 "Grad-M" multiple launch rocket system, and four launchers for the portable Strela-2 SAM (surface-to-air missile) system.

Expert Volodymyr Zablotskyi emphasizes that none of this can protect the LST from maritime drones.

'Olenegorsky Gornyak' is defeated: Navy experts comment on downed Russian ship

Photo: "Olenegorsky Gornyak failed to resist a marine drone attack (video screenshot)

"If we carefully analyze the video, you can see that they didn't even fire at the drones. According to Russian sources, no one fired, so it's unclear how they allegedly destroyed them. They supposedly hit the guard boat 'Suvorovets,' but the explosive device didn't detonate, and it survived," he pointed out.

However, the fact that the landing ship was anchored near the port saved it. If the 'Olenegorsky Gornyak' were in open waters, it likely would have met the fate of the cruiser 'Moskva.'

"There have already been photos where it's leaning to the right side, tied to the pier to prevent capsizing. It could be salvaged, or maybe not. We'll see," Zablotskyi added in his conversation with the publication.

Military-political observer of the "Information Resistance" group, Oleksandr Kovalenko, believes that losing the LST will be a painful blow to the Russian fleet, particularly because Russia faces significant challenges in constructing new ships.

According to him, in 2021, due to this, ships from the Baltic Fleet and the Caspian Flotilla were repositioned for training to simulate a large-scale landing operation.

Is the Black Sea Becoming a Frontline? Commenting on the nighttime attack on Novorossiysk, Kovalenko underscores the incident's significance.

"With the context of a full-scale war, the port in Novorossiysk is essentially considered the rear area, where nothing reaches or departs. But now we've seen a different picture," he told RBC-Ukraine.

The events of tonight's attack suggest to the Russians that the Black Sea is no longer safe.

Naval expert Volodymyr Zablotskyi notes that, for instance, the recently unveiled naval drone "Magura" has a combat radius of up to 800 kilometers.

"Such drones can enter the required zone in advance and await the attack command, after which they activate and strike. Also, pay attention—all attacks occur at night when the enemy rests. But we are not sleeping; we are approaching victory," the expert concluded.