Kara-class Cruiser Used as Blockship as Crimea Votes to Join Russia
By Harold Hutchison
As the Ukrainian autonomous republic of Crimea’s parliament voted to join Russia, it overshadowed the sad end for a cruiser that served for 36 years. A retired Kara-class cruiser, the Ochakov, was sunk as a blockship off a Ukrainian naval base.
According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, the Ochakov, which was placed in reserve in August, 2011, was scuttled outside the port of Novoozerne, where some Ukrainian naval vessels have been deployed. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense released a photo showing the scuttled vessel.
The Ochakov was commissioned in 1975, and served in the Soviet Navy until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. She then served in the Russian Navy for two decades. She was equipped with SA-N-3 surface-to-air missiles, SA-N-4 point-defense missiles, SS-N-14 surface-to-surface missiles, ten 533mm torpedo tubes, two twin 76.2mm guns, and four 30mm Gatling guns.
In other Crimea developments, the United States Navy announced that the destroyer USS Truxtun was deployed to the Black Sea. The other U.S. Navy vessel in the region is USS Taylor, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate that was damaged when it ran aground off Turkey.
The Crimean referendum on the parliament’s decision to leave the Ukraine and join Russia, slated for 16 March, has come under fire from Barack Obama. Meanwhile, the United States has frozen assets and issued travel bans targeting a number of Russians and Ukrainians as part of a response to Russia’s actions.