- Project 677 Lada-class SSK Sankt Peterburg still in Kronstadt
- Imagery proves early fake news prior to recent events around Ukraine borders
For what it’s worth….. indeed.
This imagery provided by Capella Space was supposed to have been in a Janes article last week, but the events surrounding Ukraine snowballed so quickly, it almost became old news before it had even really been put out there.
Anyway, rather than letting the imagery collection go to waste, Capella and I decided to include it here to add to the records of fake news put out by Russian media and pro-Russian supporters with regards to events in Ukraine, the Black Sea and Mediterranean.
To quickly recap, Russian news media outlet Izvestia claimed on 14 February 2022 that Russian navy Project 677 Lada-class SSK Sankt Peterburg had entered the Mediterranean Sea over the previous weekend “as part of large-scale exercises of the Russian Navy”. They quoted a source in the Russian defense department, stating “Together with a detachment of ships of the Northern Fleet, she will take part in manoeuvres in conditions “close to combat”[sic] “.
For this to have happened without being noticed is impossible. To have exited the Baltic Sea the SSK would have had to have transited via one of two routes between Sweden and Denmark – either via the Storebaelt bridge or the Oresund. It would also have had to have remained surfaced for the entirety of the transit. Had it done so it would have been seen either by the numerous ship enthusiasts that regularly take photographs of Russian – and other – warships; or by several webcams that operate on and in the vicinity of the Storebaelt bridge. There is no such evidence from these sources.
Many of us said the above at the time, both privately, and on Social Media. Covert Shores ran much the same story as here on the day without any satellite imagery – it was that quickly dismissed as fake news!
I requested an imagery collection from Capella Space almost immediately, and they were able to produce imagery at the next pass available, which was first thing in the morning UK time on 17 February.
The imagery provided clearly shows Sankt Peterburg still at its usual mooring position in Kronstadt, along with at least one Kilo-class SSK on the opposite side of the jetty. It’s highly likely another Kilo is tied up alongside the Lada-class.
Kronstadt has had near 100% cloud cover for well over a month making the collection of EO imagery from sources such as Sentinel impossible to use to verify the movements around the base.
This at least finalises the story as exactly what it was – a story.