Russia confirms Black Sea warship damage

Russia has acknowledged that a Ukrainian assault on a Black Sea port resulted in the damage of one of its warships.

Feodosiya, located in Russian-occupied Crimea, was the target of the early Tuesday morning airstrike.

The Russian Ministry of Defence reported that Ukrainian aircraft carrying guided missiles attacked the large landing ship Novocherkassk.

Previously, the commander of the Ukrainian Air Force stated that the vessel had been destroyed by its aircraft.

The attack, according to the Russian-installed leader of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, claimed the life of one individual. Multiple individuals were reportedly injured.

Mr. Aksyonov added that a limited number of individuals required transportation to temporary accommodation centres and six structures were damaged.

It has been reported that transport operations at the port have resumed normally since the area was cordoned off and the fire resulting from the attack was contained.

Ukrainian Air Force Lt. Gen. Mykola Oleshchuk allegedly distributed footage capturing a massive detonation in the port.

Unverified Footage and Strategic Implications

There has been no independent verification of the images. Satellite imagery from December 24th, nevertheless, reveals a vessel docked in Feodosiya that seems to be of equivalent length to the Novocherkassk. This vessel is specifically engineered to deliver personnel, supplies, and cargo to the shore.

As waning Western support currently disrupts Ukraine’s frontline operations, any substantial harm to the vessel would be a welcome piece of good news. It is probable that the Novocherkassk was being loaded with equipment, soldiers, or both, while in harbour.

Even if only temporarily, removing it from service will undoubtedly impede Russia’s ability to supply soldiers in northern territory it occupies.

The precise duration of the operational disruption and the practical ramifications of this strike on the front lines remain uncertain.

In the interim, a Ukrainian air force spokesman denied that two Russian Su-24 bombers were shot down approximately 125 kilometres (77 miles) from the occupied Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv.

Ukraine’s Response to Russian Assertions

It also denied Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu’s allegation that his forces occupied Mariinka in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine has utilised Donetsk and Luhansk as a defensive barrier since Russian-backed insurgents took over substantial sections in 2014.

The assault on Feodosiya on Tuesday is not the initial instance in which Ukrainian forces have targeted Novocherkassk.

The damage to the vessel was documented by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence in March 2022 as a result of an assault on the occupied Ukrainian port of Berdyansk, during which the Saratov, another amphibious assault vessel, was also destroyed.

Lieutenant General Oleshchuk stated in a Telegram message that the Novocherkassk had followed in the footsteps of the Moskva. The Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, capsized in the Black Sea a year ago.

In allusion to other Russian vessels that have been sunk throughout the conflict, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky joked that he was “grateful” to the air force for the remarkable refit of the Russian submarine Black Sea fleet with an additional vessel.

He stated that the occupiers will have no tranquil territory in Ukraine.

The Strategic Importance of Crimea

The Crimean Peninsula was seized and annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014. It was strategically utilised by its forces during the comprehensive invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Since then, Ukrainian forces in Crimea have waged multiple assaults against Russian forces. In the Black Sea, the Ukrainian military reported last month that it had damaged and destroyed 15 Russian navy vessels. Additionally, it damaged an additional 12 since the beginning of Russia’s conflict.

Following a missile assault on the Black Sea fleet’s command centre in Sevastopol in September of last year, satellite imagery revealed that a significant portion of the Russian navy’s Black Sea fleet had relocated from Crimea to the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk.

Although such assaults have somewhat weakened the Russian navy’s dominance. Moscow has maintained control of the occupied territory despite a Ukrainian counteroffensive this year.

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