Watch Ukraine Strike a Russian Rescue Ship Carrying Tor-M2KM Air Defense System – Video footage captured by a Ukrainian Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle shows a Russian rescue ship being struck by two missiles. The footage, shared on Twitter and Telegram, shows the ship being destroyed by Harpoon missiles.
“The blond boat was line up by our Harpoon missiles,” a Telegram post sharing the video reads, per Google Translate. “Thank you allies for your help.”
The video footage is not particularly clear but shows the impact of two missiles striking the ship. Shot from above, the black and white footage shows missiles heading towards the ship, before striking the vessel and causing a large explosion.
The Ukrainian Navy confirmed the strike in a statement shared on Twitter, revealing that the vessel was a rescue tug known as Vassily Bekh. The tug was believed to have been carrying personnel, weapons, and the Tor air defense system to Snake Island to provide additional support to Russian troops stationed there.
“The Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine struck another ‘no analogues’ – a tug with SAM ‘TOR’ on board,” the statement reads.
“The tugboat of the Black Sea Fleet ‘Vasiliy Bekh’ was hit in the Black Sea during the transportation of ammunition, weapons and personnel of the Black Sea Fleet to Snake Island.”
Maksym Marchenko, the head of the Odessa OVA, confirmed that the missiles used to sink the ship were Harpoons.
What is the Harpoon Missile?
The Harpoon missile is an anti-ship missile developed by the United States. In service since 1977, the missile system uses active radar homing and flies just above the water. This way, the missile is able to evade defense systems and has a greater chance of striking naval targets.
Ukrainian TB2 UCAV footage showing two missile strikes reportedly on the Russian Vasily Bekh rescue ship that was carrying a Tor-M2KM air defense system that was headed to Snake Island. https://t.co/yglG0gwQlA pic.twitter.com/0Hph0cUhQK
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) June 17, 2022
The anti-ship missile has been widely used by Ukrainian fighters since the early days of the war, and the United States Department of State announced this month that an additional two Harpoon coastal defense systems would be sent to the country. The donations will arrive as part of a brand-new $1 billion security assistance package for Ukraine, which also includes thousands of secure radios, night vision devices, and funding for training maintenance, and transportation.
U.S. officials said that Harpoon missiles are expected to be used by the Ukrainians to weaken Russia’s blockade in the Black Sea.
“Harpoon is intended for coastal defense. I think we’ve seen the negative impacts that, you know, the Russian blockade of the Black Sea has had, and continued Ukrainian fears about Russia targeting Odesa and other critical ports around the Black Sea,” one U.S. official said.
“So this is a capability that provides them significantly stronger deterrence.“
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.