What happened to the Admiral Makarov? Ukraine claims missile strike on Russian frigate in Black Sea

Reports suggest Ukraine has hit one of Vladimir Putin’s newest warships in a similar attack to the one that sunk the Moskva flagship

Russia invaded Ukraine more than 70 days ago but has struggled to achieve any of its major objectives, including toppling President Volodymyr Zelensky.

As well as being stalled on the ground, the Kremlin’s military has also suffered embarrassing losses at sea - such as the sinking of Vladimir Putin’s prized Black Sea flagship Moskva.

Now, Ukraine claims to have repeated the feat by striking one of the Russian navy’s newest frigates - the Admiral Makarov.

So what do we know about the Admiral Makarov - and what’s the latest on its condition?

Ukraine claims to have hit the Admiral Makarov with missiles (image: AFP/Getty Images)

What is the Admiral Makarov?

The Admiral Makarov is a 4,000-tonne Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate.

By comparison, the Moskva warship was around three times the size at 12,490-tonnes.

It was commissioned into the Russian navy at the end of 2017.

The Admiral Makarov in a Russian naval parade in Saint Petersburg before it was formally commissioned into the country’s navy (image: AFP/Getty Images)

Not long after, in August 2018, it was monitored by the UK armed forces as it passed through the English Channel on its way to become part of Russia’s Black Sea fleet - the flagship of which was the Moskva.

The Admiral Makarov has been involved in Russian operations in the Mediterranean Sea, including launching cruise missile strikes on Syria as part of Moscow’s campaign to support the country’s dictator Bashar Assad.

Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine the ship has formed part of a blockade of Ukrainian ports and may have been involved in some of the missile strikes Moscow has directed at Ukraine.

What happened to the Admiral Makarov?

Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed on social media platform Telegram that the Admiral Makarov had been hit by a Ukrainian missile strike on Friday (6 May) morning.

Mr Gerashchenko reported that a ‘Neptune’ missile - the same type of anti-ship missile used to sink the Moskva - had hit the warship and that it had burst into flames.

President Vladimir Putin is known to be a big supporter of the Russian navy (image: AFP/Getty Images)

It was said to have been in the vicinity of Snake Island - also known as Zmiinyi Island - when the attack took place.

The Russian government has not commented on the alleged strike.

Ukrainian state news site Dumskaya has reported Russian aircraft and naval vessels have left annexed Crimea to go to the Admiral Makarov’s aid.

The ship is said to have between 180 to 200 personnel on board.

If true, Ukraine’s missile strike could further dent Russia’s ability to launch missile strikes at mainland targets from the sea.

Russia has been unable to bolster its Black Sea fleet - or replace the Moskva - as Turkey has closed the Bosporus strait to military vessels.

The UK Ministry of Defence said the country had around 20 vessels in the Black Sea at the time of the Moskva’s sinking.

The latest news comes after reports suggested that US intelligence had helped Ukraine to locate the Moskva.

An anonymous Washington official revealed on Thursday (5 May) that the US had given Kyiv “a range of intelligence” but had not been involved in Ukraine’s decision to target the Moskva.

The New York Times also reported on the same day that US intelligence had helped Ukraine to kill senior Russian army generals - a claim the Pentagon refused to confirm but did not fully deny.