Home ukraine Russian naval ship in Crimea ‘damaged in air strike by Ukrainian forces’

Russian naval ship in Crimea ‘damaged in air strike by Ukrainian forces’

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Russian naval ship in Crimea ‘damaged in air strike by Ukrainian forces’

A Russian naval ship in Crimea has been damaged in an air strike by Ukrainian forces, Russia’s Defence Ministry said.

The landing ship Novocherkassk was hit at a base in the city of Feodosia by plane-launched guided missiles, officials said.

The ministry added that two Ukrainian fighter jets were destroyed by anti-aircraft fire during the attack.

Over recent months, Ukrainian forces have conducted attacks around Crimea, mostly with sea drones, and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy says those attacks have allowed Ukraine to restore navigation in the Black Sea and allowing the export of millions of tons of grain.

The Russia-appointed head of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, said one person was killed in the attack.

“The Russian fleet has become smaller,” Ukrainian air force Commander Mykola Oleschuk said in a mocking message on the Telegram app.

He urged Russians to leave Crimea — which Moscow annexed in 2014 — “while it’s not too late”.

It came amid growing concern about battlefield disappointments and the future of western aid for Ukraine’s war effort. Despite high hopes for a summer counter-offensive, the front line has barely moved and political disputes in allied countries leave billions of dollars of aid in doubt.

Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu briefed Russian president Vladimir Putin about the attack, according to Russian news agencies, but details were not reported.

Mr Shoigu did tout Russian accomplishments in the war this year, saying: “The main efforts in the outgoing year were focused on achieving the goals of the special military operation.

“The main one is to disrupt the counter-offensive of the Ukrainian armed forces, loudly announced by Ukraine and its Nato allies. This task has been successfully completed.”

The ministry did not specify how much the Russian ship was damaged, but videos on Ukrainian channels showed a large fire in the port area.

Ukrainian authorities claimed the ship was destroyed and said it was likely to have been carrying weapons, possibly including drones.

“We saw how powerful were the blast and detonation. It’s extremely difficult for a ship to survive something like that,” Ukrainian air force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat said on Radio Liberty.

He denied that Ukrainian planes were shot down in the attack.

Landing ships such as the Novocherkassk “are now used by the enemy almost constantly as logistics facilities, as transportation of important cargo”, a spokeswoman for Ukraine’s military southern command, Nataliya Gumenyuk, was quoted as saying by the UNIAN news agency.

The Novocherkassk was damaged in an attack in March last year, about a month after the war started, but Mr Ihnat said it had been recently used to transport weapons and soldiers to the Zaporizhzhia region, which is partly held by Russian forces.

The Ukrainian air force’s morning update on Tuesday said Russia had launched 19 drones, mostly against the Odesa and Mykolaiv regions — 13 of which were shot down — over the previous night.

The remaining drones caused infrastructure damage but no casualties were reported, according to Ukraine’s presidential office.