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Ukraine claims a Russian warship was destroyed off the Crimean coast


According to Ukraine's military forces, a large amphibious vessel from Russia, named the Caesar Kunikov, has sunk off the shore of Russian-occupied Crimea.

Local social media said that there were powerful explosions on Wednesday, indicating that the landing ship was struck to the south of the town of Yalta.

The intelligence directorate of Ukraine has produced a video showing the alleged use of Magura V5 maritime drones to attack the ship.

Ukraine has consistently targeted Russia's Black Sea navy in the annexed region of Crimea.

Last year, satellite photographs revealed that a significant portion of the fleet had departed from the peninsula and relocated to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk.

Before a NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels, Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of the Western defensive alliance, stated that Ukrainian forces had achieved a significant triumph in recent months by causing substantial damage to the Black Sea fleet. This military success has resulted in establishing a pathway for Ukrainian grain exports.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has escalated into a full-scale war, is about to reach its third year next week. The head of Ukraine's armed forces has acknowledged that the situation is intricate and tense.

Col. Gen Oleksandr Syrskyi, recently appointed commander-in-chief, inspected the front line on Wednesday and assured that additional troops would be sent to support units defending against Russian forces' capture of the critical town of Avdiivka. Avdiivka is currently sparsely populated and is nearly encircled by Russian troops. A soldier defending the area stated earlier that the situation is extremely dire.

"We are employing all available measures to hinder the enemy's progress into our territory," he said on social media.

During the night, a missile strike from Russia resulted in the deaths of three individuals, including a child, in the mining town of Selydove, which is located 40km (25 miles) west of Avdiivka. Authorities reported that a total of four missiles struck the nearby hospital and maternity ward, in addition to nine residential buildings.

Multiple additional inhabitants sustained injuries, including an infant.

Russia's navy did not confirm the sinking of the Caesar Kunikov in the Black Sea. They only acknowledged the destruction of six Ukrainian drones. The video purportedly depicting the consequences of the Ukrainian assault was recently posted, as verified by BBC Verify.

"The Caesar Kunikov sustained severe breaches on its left side and commenced submerging," said Ukraine's primary intelligence directorate on the Telegram messaging platform. They also mentioned that the ship was obliterated near the Crimean coastal town of Alupka, inside Ukrainian territorial waters, by a military force known as Group 13.

According to their manufacturer, the Magura V5 unmanned drones used in the assault were produced in Ukraine and navigated just above the water's surface at a maximum velocity of 42 nautical miles per hour.

Amphibious vessels swiftly transport assault forces to land, particularly in hostile territories. In recent years, Russia has used landing ships to ferry military supplies to Syria, assisting the regime led by Bashar al-Assad.

Russian military bloggers acknowledged that Caesar Kunikov had been struck, but they only confirmed that the crew members had survived. The Russian military seldom discloses significant casualties, and the Russian population depends on a small group of influential bloggers for news and updates.

Caesar Kunikov originated from the last period of the Soviet regime. If the sinking is verified, it would be the second successful attack in the Black Sea this month. A little naval vessel, the Ivanovets, was deliberately submerged by UAV's in a covert mission around fourteen days ago.

In December, the Novocherkassk, a Russian landing ship, was struck while docked at the port of Feodosiya.

Russia forcibly acquired and incorporated the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine about a decade earlier, and its military troops stationed there significantly contributed to the comprehensive invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. 

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