Ukraine cripples Russian warship in Crimea missile strike

In an overnight strike, Ukraine targeted a significant Russian naval vessel in Crimea using cruise missiles, resulting in casualties.

Reports from the Russian defense ministry via Interfax revealed that Ukraine launched air-launched missiles at the Crimean port of Feodosia, causing damage to the sizable Novocherkassk landing ship. President Vladimir Putin was briefed extensively by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about the attack. Crimea was annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014, a move internationally criticized as unlawful.

Yuriy Ihnat, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force, expressed doubts about the Novocherkassk’s ability to return to service given the severity of the explosion. He highlighted the destructive force of the detonation, suggesting the ship’s survival would be challenging.

While specifics about the type of cruise missiles used remained undisclosed, Ihnat mentioned Ukraine’s possession of such missiles supplied by Britain and France.

There have been indications from Russia about potential territorial advancements along the Black Sea coast. Putin had previously referred to Odessa, a key location for Ukraine’s navy, as “a Russian city.”

Media footage purportedly from the port depicted intense explosions and subsequent fires. Unverified social media videos showed a massive explosion illuminating the night sky, while a photo claimed to display the ship’s remnants, portraying charred debris emerging from the water near a dock.

Sergei Aksyonov, the appointed governor of Crimea by Russia, reported one fatality, while RIA news agency cited four injuries.

Despite limited gains from Ukrainian counteroffensives and Russia reclaiming initiative in some areas, Ukraine has managed to launch multiple attacks on Crimea, causing significant damage to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters and infrastructure.

Russia has frequently utilized its fleet to restrict Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea, a critical route for the country’s economy, mainly agriculture and steel exports.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, commenting on Telegram, remarked on damaging Russia’s submarine fleet with the strike, emphasizing relentless resistance against occupiers in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian air force claimed responsibility for the strike, celebrating the damage inflicted on the Novocherkassk. Mykola Oleshchuk, commander of Ukraine’s air force, praised the precise execution of the mission.

Sergei Markov, a former Kremlin adviser, acknowledged Russia’s likely reluctance to disclose detailed information during wartime. He stressed the need for reinforcing Crimea’s air defense and preventing future attacks from Ukraine.

Feodosia, situated on the southern Crimean coast with a population of approximately 69,000, became the focal point of this recent escalation.

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