Ukraine’s military intelligence has announced the sinking of a Russian warship off the coast of Crimea overnight into Thursday, marking the latest setback for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet after a substantial missile attack on the occupied peninsula hours earlier.
The guided-missile ship, the “Ivanovets,” reportedly sustained multiple hits to its hull, ultimately sinking in the harbor of Lake Donuzlav, Crimea’s deepest lake, according to Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence.
Footage supplied by Ukraine depicted naval drones racing towards the Russian ship, exploding on impact and causing significant damage. In the video’s conclusion, the ship is seen submerged, with only its bow above water. Independent verification of Ukraine’s claims is pending, and the targeted vessel and specific timing remain unclear from the footage.
As of now, Russia’s Defense Ministry, the Kremlin, and other Russian officials have not commented on the incident.
The sinking of the Ivanovets is the latest in a series of strikes by Ukraine on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, aiming to deliver strategic and symbolic blows to Russian forces that annexed Crimea in 2014.
Ukraine contends that these strikes on Crimea and Russian ships are designed to isolate the peninsula, making it more challenging for Russia to sustain its military operations on the Ukrainian mainland, where front lines have largely remained static for months.
A noteworthy strike was the attack on the Moskva in April 2022, altering Russia’s operational approach near areas controlled by Ukraine. The vessel gained notoriety for threatening to bomb Snake Island in the Black Sea if Ukrainian defenders did not surrender. A defiant response from one of the soldiers, “Russian warship, go f*** yourself,” became widely known.
The strike on the Ivanovets occurred after Ukraine launched a missile barrage at Crimea on Wednesday. Ukraine’s Air Force Commander described it as part of “the cleansing of Crimea from the Russian presence.”
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Ukraine initiated 20 airborne guided missiles at Crimea, with Russian air defenses reportedly intercepting 17 over the Black Sea and three more over the peninsula, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry. Some missiles were reportedly intercepted close to the Belbek airfield near Sevastopol.
Russia-appointed governor Mikhail Razvozhaev claimed that Sevastopol repelled a massive attack, with over six missiles shot down. Though falling debris hit around a dozen buildings, causing damage such as broken windows, no injuries were reported.
The Belbek airfield, formerly Ukraine’s 204th Tactical Aviation Brigade base, witnessed an explosion, as shared by Ukrainian Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk in a Telegram post, expressing gratitude to those contributing to the “cleansing of Crimea from the Russian presence.”
Yurii Ihnat, spokesman for the Air Force Command, echoed these sentiments on Thursday, stating that “certain facilities on the peninsula were hit.”
Speculation is ongoing about the possible dismissal of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, amid growing tensions with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
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