Russian aircraft on Thursday destroyed the Ukranian patrol boat Sloviansk, a former U.S. Coast Guard Island Class patrol boat that was transferred to the country’s navy in 2019.
Volodymyr Novatsky, mayor of the port city of Yuzhny, announced March 6 in a video posted to YouTube that the vessel had sunk and an unknown number of crew members were missing, including a resident of his town.
"On March 3, an airstrike was carried out by an enemy aircraft on the Sloviansk patrol boat, as a result of which it sank. People also went missing," Novatsky said.
Known formerly as the Coast Guard cutter Cushing, Sloviansk was homeported in the Ukrainian city of Odessa along with the Starobilsk, formerly the U.S. Coast Guard patrol boat Drummond, which also was transferred to Ukraine in 2019.
The two were joined last November by the former Island Class patrol boats Ocracoke and Washington, renamed as the Sumy and Fastiv.
The vessels were donated to Ukraine under the Coast Guard’s Office of International Acquisition Excess Defense Articles Program.
As part of the agreement, the vessels’ crews were trained in the U.S. at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore by members of the Coast Guard Cutter Transition Division Training Team.
The ships were to be augmented by the former Island Class patrol boat Kiska, scheduled for delivery to Ukraine in January 2022.
The Ukrainian crew of the former Kiska – now called the Kubrak – completed their training in Baltimore on Oct. 22, but it’s unclear if the patrol boat has left the Coast Guard Yard.
The Coast Guard declined to comment on the loss of the former Cushing.
And Coast Guard spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Brittany Panetta said it would not be appropriate for active-duty service members who served on the ship to discuss the sinking.
The Coast Guard's 49 Island Class vessels were built between 1985 and 1992 to conduct offshore surveillance, law enforcement and search and rescue operations, among other duties. They are armed with a single Mk 38 Mod 0 Bushmaster machine gun system and two Browning M2HB heavy machine guns.
Fifteen remain in U.S. service. Four are serving in the country of Georgia’s Coast Guard while several others are serving in Costa Rica and Pakistan.
The class is being replaced with 64 Sentinel class fast response cutters, 45 of which are now operational.
Ten days after Russia attacked Ukraine, the situation in the Black Sea continues to degrade.
According to reports and social media, Ukraine scuttled its flagship frigate Hetman Sahaidachny on March 3 in Mykolaiv, while there were reports March 7 of a ship fire off Odessa, with pictures of billowing smoke from the Russian corvette Vasily Bykov, one of the vessels that took part in the assault on the Ukrainian outpost of Snake Island on Feb. 24.
– Reporter Konstantin Toropin contributed to this report. He can be reached at Konstantin.Toropin@Military.com.
– Patricia Kime can be reached at Patricia.Kime@Military.com. Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime