A minesweeper “Cherkasy” is a symbol of resistance to the Russian occupation of Crimea, it is the last military ship controlled by Ukraine in Crimea.
On March 20, after the occupation of Crimea began, the Russians issued an ultimatum to the Ukrainian military to join Russian Forces and gave them a day to make a decision.
On March 21, 2014, 12 sailors wrote a report on their dismissal and left “Cherkasy”.
The position of colleagues was supported by the landing ship “Konstantin Olshansky” and the minesweeper “Henichesk”.
The day before, in March 2014, two Russian ships, “Ochakov” and “Shakhtar”, and later two other ships, were flooded at the exit from Donuzlav Bay. Thus, a barricade was formed, which blocked the exit from the bay to the ships of the Ukrainian Navy.
On March 21, Russian helicopters began circling in the sky over Donuzlav, and snipers were stationed on the shore.
On the same day, the “Cherkasy” crew, led by Captain Yuri Fedash, attempted to escape from Donuzlav and reach Odessa, but unfortunately failed due to the danger of the shoals. On March 22, the ship was constantly plying Donuzlav, and the Russian military was watching. On March 23, the crew made another attempt to pass between two sunken Russian ships. Almost succeeded, but after the Russian boat hit, the bow of the Cherkasy was stranded, there was a hole in the hull, the rudder broke down. On March 24, after the Russians seized the ship “Konstantin Olshansky”, “Cherkasy” became the only warship on the Donuzlav River under the Ukrainian flag.
On March 25, the Russian military launched an assault, using two helicopters and three speedboats. Everything lasted more than two hours. “Cherkasy” opened fire, but rather to deter. The Russians also fired at the bow of the ship. The minesweeper’s steering system finally failed and the Russian military seized the ship. The crew finally left “Cherkasy” on the morning of March 26.
The film “Cherkasy” was made based on the events. The premiere took place on February 25, 2020.
We respect the courage of the Ukrainian military, admire their civic stance, loyalty to the oath and active actions in a seemingly hopeless situation. Resistance to the Russian occupation continues today.