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UK Intelligence analyses Russian strike on Liberian-flagged ship in Odesa

Friday, 10 November 2023, 12:04
UK Intelligence analyses Russian strike on Liberian-flagged ship in Odesa
Liberian ship in Odesa oblast. Photo: Operational Command “South”

The UK’s Defence Intelligence believes that poor weapons employment tactics were the reason why a Russian pilot targeted an anti-radar missile at a Liberian-flagged ship at a port in Odesa Oblast.

Source: UK Defence Intelligence review dated 10 November, as reported by European Pravda

A Liberian-flagged civilian cargo ship, likely the Kmax Ruler, was hit by a Russian anti-radar missile at Odesa’s Pivdennyi port on 8 November 2023. Ukrainian officials said it was probably a Kh-31 (AS-17 Krypton) air-launched missile.


A harbour pilot was killed and three crew members and a port worker were injured as a result of the attack. Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister stated that the vessel was loading iron ore intended for Russia's strategic ally, China.

The UK analysts say that the AS-17 was probably being used to target Ukrainian military radars in the area.

"It is a realistic possibility the air launched AS-17 missile in the absence of a live military radar signature, locked onto the civilian ship's radar. If so, this would demonstrate poor weapons employment tactics on behalf of the Russian pilot," the review states.


  • After last week's news of the loss of several Russian long-range SA-21 (S-400) anti-aircraft missile systems, Russia may have to redeploy its strategic air defence assets, a previous UK Defence Intelligence review stated.
  • The UK Ministry of Defence predicted that after the loss of several long-range air defence systems in Ukraine, Russia will have to weaken its air defence elsewhere.

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