Russian Sea-Based Kalibr Cruise Missiles Part of New Round of Strikes in Ukraine

October 25, 2022 5:34 PM
A Russian Kalibr test launch. Russian MoD Photo

Russia has continued to use long-range cruise missiles fired from ships in the Black Sea to hit civilian targets in Ukraine over the last several weeks, a Pentagon spokesman told reporters on Tuesday.

“We do know that they’ve used these capabilities to strike targets in Ukraine to include some of the civilian infrastructure energy and energy grid targets, for example, that have been a part of the continued Russian missile strikes against civilian and military targets in Ukraine,” Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said during a Tuesday briefing at the Pentagon.

The statement from Ryder follows an investigation from Bellingcat that linked Kalibrs to the largest coordinated missile strike on Ukrainian targets by Russian forces since the start of the invasion. From Oct. 10 to Oct. 17, Russians claimed that the weapons hit military targets and the energy gird, while Bellingcat published reports of strikes on “non-military targets, damaging residential buildings and hitting kindergartens and playgrounds.”

The Ukraine Defense Ministry published photos of destroyed Kalibrs that was part of an Oct. 10 strike near Konotop, Ukraine.

The strikes share similarities of a July attack on civilian business center in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, in which a Kalibr fired from a Kilo-class attack submarine killed at least 23 people.

According to ship spotters, the Russian Navy has six surface ships in the Black Sea – two Grigorovich-class frigates and four Buyan-M corvettes – that can fire the Kalibr-class cruise missiles. There are also six Kilo-class diesel-electric attack submarines that are able to launch the missiles, which have a range of about 1,000 nautical miles, USNI News understands. A senior military official said Monday that the Pentagon would not provide any information on Russian submarines in the region.

Russians have used the Kalibrs since the 2010s. The first reported use of the missile in combat was from the Caspian Sea in 2015 against Islamic State targets.

The new strikes are among the most active the Russian Navy has been in the Black Sea since Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles sank the Black Sea Fleet’s flagship RTS Moskva (121) in April. Russian surface ships have largely remained in port and not been an active component in the fight in Ukraine.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
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