Ukraine says it hit two Russian naval vessels in attack on Crimea

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Kyiv [Ukraine]: Ukraine said it hit two Russian naval vessels along with a communications centre and several other facilities belonging to the Black Sea Fleet on the Crimean port of Sevastopol in an overnight attack, CNN reported.
A video shared on a local Telegram channel showed large explosions in Sevastopol, sending thick black smoke and fireballs into the air. A fireball was visible at a distance.

Ukraine said the vessels that were targeted were two amphibious landing ships – the Yamal and the Azov, according to the CNN report. The extent of the damage suffered by the Russian vessels is not clear yet.

Ukrainian air force commander Mykola Oleshchuk thanked the pilots and navy for their successful combat work.
In a post on social media platform X, Mykola Oleshchuk stated, “The sky and the sea are of the same colour! I thank the pilots and navy for their successful combat work! Crimea is ours! To the victory together!”

Russian defence officials have not issued any statements on the attack. However, Russian politician and Sevastopol governor Mikhail Razvozhayev on his Telegram channel described it as the “most massive attack in recent times.”
Without mentioning details regarding the military sites that were hit, Razvozhayev said one person had been killed in the attack. He said maritime and ground transportation in the city had been “partially damaged,” according to CNN report.

Meanwhile, Russian military bloggers in Crimea have claimed that Ukrainian forces targeted military sites in the west and the centre of the Russian-annexed peninsular, including at Hvardiiske, which is located just north of Crimea’s administrative centre, Simferopol. Social media users shared a video on Telegram that suggested that an oil depot was targeted.

The claims of both sides cannot be verified. In the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Moscow clearly seems to have an upper hand in its ground campaign. Ukrainian forces have succeeded in targeting Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, in missile strikes or sea drone attacks.

More than 20 Russian naval vessels have now been disabled or destroyed. In October last year, satellite imagery hinted that Russia relocated some of its naval ships away from Sevastopol after a series of Ukrainian attacks, according to CNN report.

If the strikes on Yamal and Azov are confirmed, it would likely imply that Russia had only three working landing ships left in the Black Sea. Ukraine said Russia started its military offensive in 2022 with 13 such vessels, the report said.

In September, a Ukrainian missile strike destroyed the fleet’s headquarters in Sevastopol. For Ukraine, the effect is not only military but also economic, as it helps to secure a shipping corridor from Odesa and other ports towards the Bosphorus Strait, allowing Ukraine to send grain and other products to world markets.

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