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Russia Says Destroyed Ukraine’s ‘Last Warship’

Ukrainian landing ship Yuri Olefirenko. Mil.gov.ua

Russia’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday it had “destroyed” what it claimed was Ukraine’s last warship.

The landing ship Yuri Olefirenko was struck by “high-precision” Russian Aerospace Forces weaponry in the Black Sea port of Odesa on Monday, the Defense Ministry said in a daily briefing. 

It was not immediately possible to verify Moscow’s assertion and Kyiv has not yet commented on the claim.

Ukrainian naval forces spokesman Oleh Chalyk declined to comment on the claim specifically, but said he "did not recommend paying attention" to Russian sources.

The Yuri Olefirenko is a medium-sized landing ship for troops and vehicles.

First named Kirovohrad, the ship was renamed in 2016 in honor of a Ukrainian marine killed near the southeastern port of Mariupol in 2015. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky decorated its crew in June 2022. 

Ukraine’s military said Monday that heavy air strikes had ignited a fire and damaged infrastructure at the port of Odesa, which is a key grain export hub in addition to its naval base.

The Ukrainian military’s southern command said it was determining the extent of the damage at the time.

AFP contributed reporting.

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