Russian warship badly damaged by missile strike in Crimea
A Russian warship struck by Ukrainian missiles on Saturday in occupied Crimea sustained severe damage in the attack.
Scalp missiles, the French version of the Storm Shadow, hit the vessel stationed at the Zalyv dockyard in the port city of Kerch.
Pictures showed the port side of the Karakurt-class Askold warship had been badly mangled in the strike.
Andrii Ryzhenko, the captain of the Ukrainian Navy, told Radio Free Europe: “You can see that it’s still afloat, but the upper part of the ship is significantly damaged.”
The vessel is armed with eight Kalibr cruise missiles and was reportedly going through its final fittings at the harbour before being commissioned into the Black Sea Fleet.
Volodomyr Zelensky said on Monday in his nightly address: “I thank everyone who ensured the successful destruction of the Russian ship at the Kerch shipyard.”
The Russian Defence Ministry confirmed that the Ukrainian strike damaged a ship at a shipyard in Kerch and later added that Ukraine had fired 15 cruise missiles at the dock.
The British Ministry of Defence said the strike on Crimea’s shipbuilding infrastructure “will likely” force Russia to consider relocating its ships further away from the front line.
“The incident is farther to the east in Crimea than most previous Ukrainian-claimed long-range strikes,” the MoD said in its daily intelligence briefing.
Farther from the front line
“Ukraine’s capability to hit Crimean shipbuilding infrastructure will likely cause Russia to consider relocating farther from the front line, delaying the delivery of new vessels.”
Satellite photos showed a Russian warship was in the Zalyv dockyard during the missile strike.
Sergey Aksyonov, who heads the Russian-installed government in Crimea, said debris from an intercepted missile fell onto one of the dry docks and that there were no casualties.
Ukraine has frequently attacked Russia’s navy in the Black Sea over the past year, forcing the Kremlin to withdraw its warships from Sevastopol to the port of Novorossyk, further along the coast.
Moscow has also announced plans to build a new naval base for its fleet in Abkhazia, a rebel part of Georgia which is 350 miles away.
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