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Dozens of Crew Missing After Ukraine Destroys Russian Warship – Reports

View of the port in Feodosia. Sergei Malgavko / TASS

Dozens of sailors remain missing following a Ukrainian missile strike on a large Russian naval landing ship in annexed Crimea, Russian news outlets have reported, citing anonymous sources.

Ukraine’s Air Force claimed to have destroyed the Novocherkassk landing ship with cruise missiles at the port of Feodosia on Tuesday. The Kremlin only acknowledged that Novocherkassk was “damaged” as a result of the attack and did not mention any human casualties.

According to Astra, a Telegram news channel that regularly reports on Russia’s military losses in Ukraine, 77 sailors were on board the Novocherkassk at the time of the late-night attack.

Nineteen sailors were wounded and 33 sailors remain missing as a result of the attack, Astra reported Wednesday.

Among civilians, the outlet said 64-year-old port security guard Nadezhda Tolshchina was killed and four others were wounded. 

Astra further claimed that debris from a British-made Storm Shadow long-range cruise missile was found at the site of the attack.

“The ship completely burned out and sank,” the outlet wrote.

Satellite images published by the Radio Svoboda project Skhemi claimed to show the Novocherkassk partially submerged.

VCHK-OGPU, a Telegram news channel that regularly publishes source-based political and business reports, said its anonymous sources listed 57 missing crew members and 16 local dock workers.

“No one got hurt, everything’s smooth, everything’s great,” the Novocherkassk’s commander Nikolai Stepanenko was quoted as saying to the Agentstvo investigative outlet by phone.

Russia rarely acknowledges its military losses in the course of the 22-month war in Ukraine and it remains impossible to verify the reported figures independently.

The conflicting claims of casualties in the Novocherkassk strike mirror the aftermath of the April 2022 sinking of Russia’s Black Sea flagship, the Moskva, off the Ukrainian coast. 

Eight days after the Moskva's sinking, the Defense Ministry acknowledged one sailor killed and 27 missing, but unverified reports said the real toll was likely much higher. At least 17 of the missing crew were later declared dead by a court in Sevastopol.

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