- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 7, 2023

The Russian navy is scrapping a ballistic missile submarine that was launched during the Cold War and provided the country with a nuclear strike capability for more than 40 years.

A senior Russian official told the official TASS news agency this week that the Akula-class nuclear-powered strategic submarine Dmitry Donskoy has been decommissioned.

“It will await utilization at a naval base in Severodvinsk together with two other units of this project,” Vladimir Maltsev, head of the Russian Movement for Navy Support, said, according to TASS.

The Dmitry Donskoy was laid down at the Sevmash shipyard in 1976 and launched in September 1980. Named for a historical leader who challenged Mongol authority over Russia in the late 1300s, it was the lead submarine in its class and was once the largest sub in the world. TASS said six of the Akula-class submarines were built and deployed as part of the Northern Fleet of the Soviet Union.

TASS reported that three of the Akula-class subs were disposed of with U.S. financial support following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Two other submarines, the Arkhangelsk and the Severstal, have been withdrawn from active service and are awaiting disposal.

The Russian navy has faced a number of challenges since President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of neighboring Ukraine in February 2022. Most notably, the Russian warship Moskva, the flagship of the country’s Black Sea Fleet, sank on April 14 after it was struck by two R-360 Neptune anti-ship missiles. It was the largest Russian warship to be sunk in battle since the end of World War II and the first flagship sunk in battle since the Russo-Japanese War in 1905.

Ukrainian naval and air drones attacked Russia’s Black Sea Fleet on Oct. 29, with at least one of Moscow’s ships, the Admiral Makarov, sustaining damage. 

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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