The Ukrainian air force destroyed a Russian amphibious landing ship in an early morning raid on Tuesday, the country’s air force chief claimed, in what would be a major loss for the Russian Navy.
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that the landing ship Novocherkassk, docked in the Crimean city of Feodosia, was damaged in a strike, The Associated Press reported, adding that two Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down during the operation.
Russian state media TASS reported that one person was killed and two were injured in the attack. An ammunition store blew up amid the attack, it said.
“The fleet in Russia is getting smaller and smaller!” Ukrainian air force chief Mykola Oleshchuk said on Telegram, mocking the Russians.
Oleshchuk shared a video which appears to show a massive explosion at the port.
The Ukrainian military claimed Novocherkassk has served as a launching point for attack drones in the Black Sea. Oleshchuk said the Tuesday attack was a follow-up to the destruction of the Russian flagship cruiser Moskva in April 2022, not long after the beginning of the war.
He also urged Russians to leave Crimea, formerly Ukrainian land until 2014, “before it’s too late.”
The Ukrainian military has increasingly focused attacks on Crimea as its war against Russia drags on.
Fighting has slowed to a near-standstill as winter sets in and both sides suffer the effects of a long, costly conflict. Ukraine has continued to push the U.S. and Western allies for additional military aid it claims is critical for its defense against the nearly two-year Russian invasion.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky failed to convince Congress to quickly pass a Ukraine aid bill during his Washington visit earlier this month. Congress is expected to restart negotiations over a combined border security-foreign aid deal after the holidays.
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