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Ukraine Says It Destroyed Russian Ship in the Black Sea

Ukraine Russian ship
File photo of the Caesar Kunikov that dates back to the end of the Soviet era. Credit:  Los Barcos de Eugenio, CC BY-SA 3.0

On Wednesday, Ukraine said it used naval drones to sink a Russian landing ship in the Black Sea. This is a report that has not been confirmed by Russian authorities.

The Caesar Kunikov amphibious ship sank near Alupka, a city on the southern edge of the Crimean Peninsula that Moscow annexed in 2014, Ukraine’s General Staff said. The ship is said to have a capacity of 87 crew members.

Sinking the vessel would be another embarrassing blow for the Russian Black Sea fleet and a significant success for Ukraine only ten days prior to the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022, the Associated Press reports.

Powerful explosions were heard early on Wednesday, according to local social media. This could have meant the landing ship was hit south of the town of Yalta.

Ukraine claims Magura V5 sea drones hit the Russian ship

Ukraine’s intelligence directorate released a video of what it said were Magura V5 sea drones striking the ship.

The Magura V5 unmanned drones are made in Ukraine and travel just above the sea surface at a speed up to 42 nautical miles an hour, their manufacturer says.

Russian military bloggers did not deny the Caesar Kunikov had been hit, saying only that the crew had survived. Russia’s military rarely reports major losses and Russians rely on a handful of popular bloggers for information.

The Caesar Kunikov dates back to the end of the Soviet era. If its sinking is confirmed, it would be the second successful strike in the Black Sea thus far this month. A small warship, the Ivanovets, was sunk by drones in a special operation almost two weeks ago.

Another Russian landing ship, the Novocherkassk, was hit while in port in Feodosiya in December.

The Caesar Kunikov has already been targeted since the war began. It was damaged along with the Novocherkassk in a Ukrainian strike on the occupied port of Berdyansk in March 2022, when a third landing ship, the Saratov, was sunk.

Caesar Kunikov, for whom the Russian vessel was named, was a World War II hero of the Soviet Union for his exploits and died on February 14th, the same day as the Ukrainian drone strike in 1943.

In other developments, an overnight Russian attack on the town of Selydove in the eastern Donetsk region struck a medical facility and a residential building, killing a child and a pregnant woman, Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said on social media. Three other children were wounded, he said.

Selydove is just 25 kilometers (16 miles) from the front line. Nine Ukrainian civilians were killed and at least twenty-five people wounded by Russian shelling over the previous twenty-four hours, the President’s office said Wednesday.

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