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When Russia's powerful Black Sea Fleet sailed towards the Georgian coast on August 10, the tiny Georgian navy rushed to meet them. The battle was fierce, but the outcome essentially was pre-determined. A handful of short-range small patrol boats stood no chance against the Russian fleet. Despite reportedly scoring one missile hit on the cruiser Moskva, the Georgians were overwhelmed, and the patrol boat Georgiy Toreli was sunk by an SS-N-9 missile.
According to Black Sea Fleet officials, elements of the Georgian Navy consisting of two missile boats and two auxillary craft breached the "security zone", as originally imposed by the Russian Navy. The Russian Ministry of Defence claimed that, after two sorties by the Georgians against the Russian fleet, the Russian units retaliated with naval gunfire, sinking one of the attacking boats and forcing the remaining three Georgian warships to withdraw towards the port of Poti. Georgian sources remain silent about the engagement, but Abkhazian officials confirmed the action. It transpired later[nb 1] that the Georgian warship was actually struck by a Malachite missile fired by the Nanuchka III corvette Mirazh, a second boat was damaged by gunfire, and that the cruiser Moskva sustained some damage. The latter claims have since been denied, with Russia reporting that the vessel sunk in action was the P-21 patrol boat Giorgi Toreli (which "disappeared from the surface" within minutes).