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Ukraine, ‘Russian Legion’ Claim April Arson Attack on Kaliningrad Warship

Russian small missile ship Serpukhov. Don-vip (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Ukraine’s military intelligence and a pro-Kyiv paramilitary unit composed of Russian nationals claimed responsibility for damaging a Russian warship in the Baltic Sea region of Kaliningrad.

In April, Ukraine’s military intelligence published a video of the Serpukhov guided missile corvette, stationed in the Kaliningrad region city of Baltiysk, catching fire from the inside. At the time it did not claim responsibility for the arson attack, which it said had “disabled” the Serpukhov.

“Now we can say that it was part of Operation ‘Rybalka’ [‘Fishing’ in Russian],” GUR military intelligence spokesman Andrii Yusov said during a briefing Wednesday, according to the news agency Ukrinform.

The Freedom of Russia Legion, the pro-Ukrainian paramilitary unit, said the attack “completely destroyed communication and means of automation” inside the Serpukhov.

“This is our first operation in the Baltic Fleet,” Yusov added, claiming that the attack led to “reshuffles, investigations and punishments in the Baltic Fleet.”

Russia, which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, has not commented on the attack or the damage to the Serpukhov.

Yusov said a former sailor who had served on board the Serpukhov who had joined the Freedom of Russia Legion helped carry out the operation. He said the unidentified sailor, who goes by the callsign “Goga,” defected to Ukraine with “secret information” about the Russian Navy’s Baltic Fleet and other military intelligence.

“Goga” said at the press briefing that he opposed Russia’s war in Ukraine and began cooperating with the GUR’s hotline for Russian soldiers after trying unsuccessfully to resign from the Russian Navy.

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