Russia’s Ministry of Defence has reported that one of its warships was damaged in a Ukrainian strike on a Black Sea port. The bombing occurred early Tuesday morning in Russian-occupied Crimea at Feodosiya.
According to Russia’s Ministry of Defence, Ukrainian planes carrying guided missiles targeted the Russian landing ship Novocherkassk. The Ukrainian Air Force’s commander previously stated that its airplanes had destroyed the ship.
According to the Russian-installed leader of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, one person was killed in the incident. Several additional people were reportedly injured.
Six buildings were destroyed, and a limited number of people were moved to temporary shelters, according to Mr Aksyonov.
The port’s transportation operations are stated to be operating normally after the area was roped off and a fire generated by the attack was put out. Ukrainian air force commander Lt Gen Mykola Oleshchuk allegedly posted video of a massive explosion at the port.
The photographs have not been verified independently. Satellite footage from December 24 reveals a ship at Feodosiya port that appears to be the same length as the Novocherkassk – a landing ship designed to convey troops, weapons, and supplies to shore.
Any serious damage to the ship would be excellent news for Ukraine, as declining Western assistance is now harming its front-line operations. Given that the Novocherkassk was docked, it is very likely that it was loading soldiers, equipment, or both.
According to the BBC, a security and defense specialist and former Nato analyst, the ship could be carrying Iranian-made Shahed drones, which Russia has been deploying in its attacks on Ukrainian targets.
Nataliya Humenyuk, the chief of the press center for Ukraine’s southern command, claimed on Ukrainian television that it was “clear that such a large detonation was caused by more than just the fuel or ammunition of the ship itself.”
Ms Humenyuk also stated that Russia has been having issues shipping “important cargo” due to the damage to the Kerch Bridge, which connects Russia to the Crimean Peninsula.
“So, it’s quite possible that it [the Novocherkassk] was a kind of “Christmas present, completely wrapped,” she explained. Taking the ship out of service, even if only briefly, will undoubtedly limit Russia’s capacity to feed soldiers in territory it controls further north.
What is less known is how long its activities will be interrupted and how this strike will affect the front lines.
Meanwhile, a Ukrainian air force spokesman has denied that Russia shot down two of its Su-24 warplanes about 125 kilometers (77 miles) from the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv.
Kyiv originally refuted the assertion, but Ukrainian Armed Forces commander Valerii Zaluzhnyi declared in a news conference on Tuesday that his forces had moved to the outskirts of town and beyond.
Since 2014, when Russian-backed rebels captured major swaths of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Ukraine has utilized the area as a defensive barrier.
The attack on Feodosiya on Tuesday is not the first time Ukrainian soldiers have targeted Novocherkassk.
The ship was damaged in an attack on the seized Ukrainian port of Berdyansk in March 2022, according to Ukraine’s defense ministry, in which another amphibious assault ship, the Saratov, was sunk.
Lt Gen Oleshchuk stated on Telegram that the Novocherkassk had gone the way of the Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which drowned in the Black Sea last year.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky joked that he was “grateful” to the country’s air force “for the impressive replenishment of the Russian submarine Black Sea fleet with another vessel,” referring to several Russian ships sunk during the conflict.
“The occupiers will not have a single peaceful place in Ukraine,” he told reporters.
Russia captured and annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, and its forces stationed there played a significant role in the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Since then, Ukrainian soldiers have repeatedly attacked Russian forces in Crimea. Ukraine’s military stated last month that it had destroyed 15 Russian navy ships and damaged another 12 in the Black Sea since Russia’s invasion.
Following a missile strike on the Black Sea force’s headquarters in Sevastopol in September, satellite photos revealed that the Russian navy had relocated much of its Black Sea fleet from Crimea to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk.
The Russian navy’s authority has been eroded to some extent as a result of such attacks, but Moscow has maintained control of the region it holds this year, despite a Ukrainian counteroffensive.