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Media: 2 Russian vessels left Feodosia in occupied Crimea after Ukraine's strike

by Asami Terajima and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 26, 2023 10:44 PM 2 min read
Aftermath of the attack on a Russian ship in Russian-occupied Feodosia in eastern Crimea in the early hours of Dec. 26, 2023. (Photo: Ukrainska Pravda / Crimean Telegram channels)
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Two Russian vessels had left Feodosia a few hours after Ukrainian forces struck the port in Russian-occupied Crimea, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Crimea.Realities reported on Dec. 26.

Earlier in the day, Russia's Defense Ministry confirmed that the Russian landing ship Novocherkassk, docked at Feodosia, had been "damaged" by a Ukrainian missile strike.

Ukrainian Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk announced that the ship had been struck earlier on Dec. 26, but implied it was destroyed, not damaged, which appears to be backed by the videos from the scene.

Crimea.Realities said that it was impossible to identify the two vessels due to the distance and the smoke, but judging by their size, they resembled a warship and a military boat of Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Russian branch reported that another vessel that partially sank with Novocherkassk was training vessel UTS-150, citing satellite data from Planet showing Feodosia after the attack.

At least two officers may have been in the landing ship Novocherkassk at the time of the attack, according to independent Russian news site Agentstvo. It reported that Nikolay Stepanenko, commander of the ship, claimed to Agentstvo that there were no casualties.  

At around 3 a.m. local time, Crimean Telegram channels reported explosions in the area of ​​Feodosia in eastern Crimea. The Telegram channels claimed that a ship with Iranian ammunition was reportedly blown up and a fire broke out in the port.

According to Russian-affiliated media, residents reported hearing loud bangs, and seeing plumes of smoke, and traffic on the Crimean bridge was blocked.

Sergey Aksyonov, the head of Russian occupation authorities in Crimea, said that one person had been killed in the attack, and two others were injured. Several nearby buildings were also damaged. Russian media reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin was informed of the "damage" to the ship.

Russian proxy authorities later revised the number of injured to four.

The Novocherkassk is a mid-size vessel with a length of almost 113 meters, designed for amphibious landings, which can carry armored vehicles, according to a U.S. military factsheet cited by CNN. It has a crew of 87 and can host almost 240 personnel.

Ukraine's General Staff said the ship had previously been damaged by a strike near the Ukrainian port city of Berdiansk in March 2022.

Ukraine has repeatedly struck Russia's Black Sea fleet since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, including the sinking of the flagship cruiser Moskva in April 2022 and a devastating missile attack on the fleet's headquarters in occupied Crimea that reportedly killed more than 30 officers.

Russia confirms its landing ship hit by Ukrainian missile strike in occupied Crimea (UPDATED)
Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed that the Novocherkassk landing ship had been damaged by Ukrainian missile strikes early on Dec. 26
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