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Kremlin Confirms Russian Warship Hit By Ukrainian Strike

Landing ship Novocherkassk in the port of Feodosia. kafanews.com

The Kremlin on Tuesday acknowledged a Ukrainian attack had damaged a warship in the occupied Crimean port of Feodosia in what Ukraine and its Western allies called a major setback for the Russian Navy.

Feodosia is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet naval base on the annexed Crimean peninsula.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu informed "about the damage to our large landing ship" to President Vladimir Putin in "a very detailed report," the president's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

Ukraine's air force said earlier Tuesday it had attacked the Novocherkassk with cruise missiles at around 2:30 a.m. local time.

In an earlier message, it said the Novocherkassk had been "destroyed,” and that "people say that it transported Shaheds,” referring to Iranian explosive drones used regularly by Russia against Ukraine.

Russia’s Defense Ministry did not specify the extent of the damage, but claimed to have destroyed two Ukrainian Su-24 bombers during the attack.

Ukrainian air force spokesman Yury Ihnat denied Moscow’s claims.

Ukrainian air force commandant Mykola Olechtchouk posted a video showing a fiery explosion at the Russian naval base in Feodosia.

Sergei Aksyonov, the Kremlin-backed head of Crimea, said one person was killed and two wounded in the attack on Feodosia, with nearby residents being evacuated.

"The port area is cordoned off," he wrote on the messaging platform Telegram.

His aide Oleg Kryuchkov threatened criminal prosecution for those who published footage of the attack, claiming the identities of the images’ authors have already been established, according to RIA Novosti.

Ukraine frequently carries out strikes on Crimea, targeting Russian military sites in particular.

In April 2022, it sank the cruiser Moskva, the flagship of the Black Sea fleet.

The Novocherkassk was previously used by Russia for its military intervention in Syria.

The open-source intelligence project Oryx estimates that Ukraine may have destroyed 11 out of the 16 Russian warships it has attacked during Moscow’s invasion.

In a post on social media, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote: "The occupiers will not have a single peaceful place in Ukraine."

The attack comes after Ukraine struck the Black Sea fleet's headquarters in Sevastopol in September, forcing Moscow to move warships to ports further east.

AFP contributed reporting.

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