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Video: Ukrainian Strike Obliterates Russian Ship in Massive Blast

AFU
Image courtesy AFU

Published Dec 26, 2023 3:52 PM by The Maritime Executive

[Updated 12/26] Another Russian Navy landing ship has been attacked and destroyed by Ukrainian forces, adding to a growing tally of Black Sea Fleet ships that have been taken out of commission. 

In a brief message Tuesday morning, the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that the Ropucha-class landing ship Novocherkassk was destroyed in Feodosia, Crimea overnight. The AFU credited the attack to Ukrainian Air Force pilots. 

"Crimea is Ukraine. There is no place for the occupier's fleet here," the AFU wrote. 

The Russian defense ministry confirmed the strike in a statement to state media, and officials claimed that the two Ukrainian aircraft that launched the attack had been shot down. The ministry asserted that the ship was "damaged," but bystander videos and early satellite imagery appear to suggest a constructive total loss (and possible sinking). 

The Russian-appointed governor of occupied Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, confirmed that there had been "explosions from detonations of ordnance" stored in the port area. Multiple bystanders captured the event on video (below), and appear to depict a massive secondary explosion centered on the burning ship. 

The first available satellite imagery of the scene appears to show a partially-sunken vessel at the location of the attack. Based on geolocation using historical imagery, the half-sunken wreckage shown within the red rectangle in the satellite photo corresponds to the location of the burning vessel (see video below). 

Planet / Mark Krutov / X

Past satellite photos from October 2 provided by MT Anderson and Planet Labs appear to show a Ropucha-class landing ship berthed in the same location. 

It is the latest in a long string of Ukrainian strikes on the Russian Navy, and the accumulated toll is having a strategic effect. Russian warships have pulled back from the port of Sevastopol, Crimea, retreating to the safety of Novorossyisk further east. The attack in Feodosia - a small port town halfway between the two larger seaports - confirms that Ukraine can reach deeper into Russian-held territory. 

Ukrainian forces also destroyed a Russian landing ship at Sevastopol in September 2023 and another at Berdyansk in March 2022. (According to Mash.ru, the Novocherkassk was hit in the Berdyansk strike as well, but survived until her sinking Monday night.)

Other well-known attacks include the sinking of the Black Sea Fleet flagship Moskva in April 2022, the destruction of a Kilo-class sub in Sevastopol in September 2023 and a strike on a brand new missile boat at a yard in Kerch last month. In all, Ukraine says that its forces have taken 23 Russian vessels (of all kinds) out of action.