The Russian military and naval shipbuilders are attempting to shift blame for each other for the “miserable state” of the Russian navy, the Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR) of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine reported on Jan. 9.
This blame primarily pertains to the state of Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, which has been continuously plagued with problems for the past six years.
"Recently a decision was made to transfer the ship from dry dock to the pier of a ship repair plant in order to continue repairs,” HUR reported.
“However, during preparations for transport, it became clear that the cruiser was not able to move on its own.”
Therefore, an attempt was made to move the vessel with the help of several tugs, but this proved impossible due to the critical condition of its hull – reportedly, the ship is likely to capsize and drown if it’s put out to sea.
Accordingly, inspections of the Admiral Kuznetsov’s hull revealed that the metal superstructure below the third deck had suffered significant corrosion, and the holds were completely filled with water.
This has resulted in mutual recriminations being traded between officials of the 35th ship repair plant in Murmansk and Russian naval commanders for the cruiser's current condition.
"The Russian Navy commanders imposed a fine of RUB 1.5 billion ($21,3 million) on the management of the ship repair plant for failure to meet the deadlines for repair and fulfill the contract,” Ukraine’s military intelligence stated.
“In turn, the management of the enterprise published a letter stating that the plant is not guilty in the cruiser's current condition. It's highly likely the military representation meant to supervise the enterprise’s repair operations will be convicted.”
The Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov has been undergoing maintenance since 2017.
After a trip to Syria in 2016 – the carrier’s first combat mission – the vessel encountered a number of problems, necessitating a trip to dry dock. Two of its 15 aircraft crashed during landing operations during this period.
In 2018, a crane crashed down onto the carrier, causing significant damage. A mechanic working on the Admiral Kuznetsov at the time was reported missing after the incident.
In 2019, a massive fire broke out on the carrier, killing two and injuring 14 more. The vessel had been in dry dock undergoing repairs since that time, preventing its use in the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.