False news on Russian Navy Ship “Vasily Bykov”


  • Social media states Russian navy ship sunk by Ukrainian MLRS
  • Evidence provided shows civilian merchant ship, not Russian vessel
  • Hopefully, the ship has been sunk, but more evidence is required
  • AIS data shows possible ship shown in media

This blog has now been replaced by Update on “False news on Vasily Bykov” but kept here for historical value.


It has been reported in social media that Russian Navy Project 22160 Corvette Vasily Bykov has been sunk by Ukrainian Forces using Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), having lured it into an area using other ships.

Whilst I’d like this to be the truth, unfortunately, if the images and video used are correct, it is in fact a merchant ship that has been sunk.

The probability of MLRS hitting a ship in this manner is extremely low. Other reports suggest it hit a mine, which is probably more likely.

Looking at AIS data on FleetMon, it looks like it is Estonian flagged Helt that has sunk and it is old imagery of this event on March 2nd 2022 that is now doing the circuit on Twitter.

Helt was operated by Estonian company VISTA Shipping Agency who reported that the ship had possibly hit a mine.

Ukrainian forces had previously reported the ship had been taken over by the Russian navy and was being used as a decoy.

Regardless of the actual events, the chances that it is Vasily Bykov in the imagery and video are remote. Whether the corvette has actually been sunk is another matter, and time will tell.

The data below from FleetMon shows that at 0504z on 2nd March 2022, Helt started moving to the NE. At 0540z the ship stopped moving, a brief at anchor message was sent, and then the ship started drifting at anchorage.

AIS data ceased at 0640z on 3rd March 2022. VISTA Shipping later reported that day that the ship had sunk with all crew rescued.

Further evidence is needed before any confirmation of the sinking of Vasily Bykov.

4 thoughts on “False news on Russian Navy Ship “Vasily Bykov”

  1. “”Whilst I’d like this to be the truth, unfortunately,””

    Why ,you enjoy people getting murdered? It’s a patrol boat ffs,and you know this better than most 🙂 it just looks “cool” and menacing. but it only has a small naval gun as far as I can tell. These are used for anti poaching/anti smugling duties for the most part, also Kiev has been lying from the beginning on. Everything so one can’t trust their official statements that are retracted soon after the first news slash hits..like the Snake island Spartans which turned out were alive after all :)(only an idiot would think a patrol boat could obliterate an entire island..and who would believe that only 13 border guards were enough to defend their most strategic point..near the crimea and the mouths of the danube ..but there we are,msm strikes again)

    • Thanks for your comment.

      Yes I do know what class of ship it is. It is a Corvette, not a Patrol Boat. Your “small naval gun” is a AK-176MA that can fire 130 76mm rounds a minute to a range of approx 16km. So, no not a common patrol boat.

      It can also have palletised SAM/SSMs installed in the flight deck area.

      As for the murder part – wtf?! They’ve murdered quite few thousand over the last couple of weeks – so, yep – I did wish it had been sunk – though I heavily believe it is alive and well – unfortunately.

      • Thank you for the update. And thanks for remaining sane while so many others have become partisan fanatics.

  2. Pingback: Update on “False news on Vasily Bykov” | planesandstuff

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