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UK Defense Ministry confirms Ukrainian strike 'completely destroyed' Russian landing ship

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 28, 2023 8:57 PM 2 min read
The Novocherkassk near Sevastopol in occupied Crimea, July 27, 2019. The landing ship was hit by a Ukrainian missile attack while docked at Feodosia on Dec. 26, 2023. (Ulf Mauder/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Ukraine's missile strike on the Russian landing ship Novocherkassk on Dec. 26 "completely destroyed" the vessel, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in its intelligence update on Dec. 28.

Russia's Defense Ministry claimed on Dec. 26 that the ship, which had been docked at Feodosia in Russian-occupied Crimea, had been "damaged" in the strike.

The ship is one of three Landing Ship Tanks (LST) that Russia has now lost since the start of the full-scale invasion, the U.K. Defense Ministry said.

The Saratov landing ship sunk in March 2022, and the Minsk was "functionally destroyed" by a Ukrainian strike on a dry dock in Sevastopol on Sept. 13.

"Two additional LSTs have likely been damaged," according to the report. Russia "likely planned to use its LST force to launch significant amphibious assaults during the invasion," but now typically uses the ships for logistical support.

Open source evidence showing a large secondary explosion suggests "it is highly likely the vessel was carrying explosive cargo when it was hit, the U.K. Defense Ministry said.

Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat also said to RFE/RL on Dec. 26 that the size of the explosion indicated that something significant had exploded due to the strikes, likely ammunition.

Ihnat also said that the ship had been struck by more than one cruise missile and noted that Ukraine possesses both Storm Shadow and Scalp missiles provided by the U.K. and France, which have the capability of striking occupied Crimea.

Storm Shadow missiles were reportedly used in an attack in September on the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in the Crimean city of Sevastopol.

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