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Ukraine has mocked Vladimir Putin after its armed forces sunk yet another Russian warship off the southern coast of annexed Crimea before releasing drone footage of the successful attack. 

The clip showed the Caesar Kunikov landing ship ablaze as rescue vessels – including a surfaced submarine – descended on the scene just off the coast of resort city Alupka after marine drones had been deployed to blow a hole in its hull. 

Moments later the warship suffered a huge explosion, thought to be the detonation of the stricken warship’s ammunition.

The Ukrainian Defence Ministry poked fun at the Russian navy on X, quipping: ‘+1 russian ship upgraded to a submarine.

‘Black Sea fish will definitely like Caesar salad.’ 

The GUR Ukrainian military intelligence said of the operation: ‘On February, 14, 2024, the Main Directorate of Intelligence in cooperation with the Security and Defence Forces of Ukraine destroyed the large [Russian] landing ship Caesar Kunikov.

‘The successful mission was carried out by the special forces of Group 13 of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate. The Caesar Kunikov received critical breaches on the left side and began to sink.’

Russia‘s defence ministry did not provide any confirmation, but respected Russian milblogging channel Rybar later corroborated the Ukrainian claims. 

Rybar went on to issue a scathing criticism of the Russian Black Sea Fleet following the successful strike. 

‘One Russian ship upgraded to submarine’: Ukraine mocks Putin after sinking warship off Crimea and releases footage showing sea drone attack and huge explosion

Kyiv’s intelligence agency released drone footage of the attack

Russia's defence ministry did not provide any confirmation, but respected Russian milblogging channel Rybar later corroborated the Ukrainian claims

Russia’s defence ministry did not provide any confirmation, but respected Russian milblogging channel Rybar later corroborated the Ukrainian claims

The GUR Ukrainian military intelligence said it had stuck the ship with several marine drones, successfully sinking the ship

The GUR Ukrainian military intelligence said it had stuck the ship with several marine drones, successfully sinking the ship

The ship can be seen listing in the sea with fire trailing from a hole in its hull

The ship can be seen listing in the sea with fire trailing from a hole in its hull

The warship suffered a huge explosion, thought to be the detonation of the stricken warship's ammunition

The warship suffered a huge explosion, thought to be the detonation of the stricken warship’s ammunition

Caesar Kunikov large landing ship, part of Russian Black Sea Fleet

Caesar Kunikov large landing ship, part of Russian Black Sea Fleet

‘Two years have passed since the start of the military operation. There are not the best reviews about the command of the Black Sea Fleet among subordinate military personnel.

‘This could still be chalked up to ordinary grumbling, if not for the fact of systematic fire destruction of Black Sea Fleet facilities by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the collective West.

‘At this point I just want to say: ”It’s time to change approaches”. Otherwise, what’s the point?’

‘The Main Intelligence Directorate decided to congratulate the occupiers on Valentine’s Day in their own way,’ reported Crimean Wind channel.

Another Ukrainian channel Pravda Gerashchenko said: ‘A Russian warship was attacked and sank shortly after the explosions.’

Pro-Kremlin commentator Sergei Markov said that the latest attack shows Putin’s hopes of grabbing port Odesa – his big prize in the Black Sea – are now dashed.

‘Western experts and Zelensky even claim that in 2023 the Ukrainian Armed Forces won the big battle for the Black Sea.

‘Well, that’s not true because the Ukrainian Armed Forces do not have their own ships on the Black Sea.

‘But the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ naval drones really create big problems for the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and the likelihood of a large landing operation of the Russian army in Odesa and Mykolaiv is now only theoretical,’ he concluded.

The Caesar Kunikov is a type of vessel used by Putin’s armed forces to transport missiles and drones for attacks on Ukraine.

It is designed to support amphibious operations, carrying heavy armour, vehicles and other cargo before deploying them directly on the shoreline. 

The ship sustained damage earlier in the war, and its then captain Alexander Chirva died from wounds in 2022.

An American Northrop Grumman RQ-4B Global Hawk reconnaissance drone was also flying south of the incident doing repeated loops over the Black Sea, according to flight tracking portal Flightradar, potentially providing intel for the Ukrainian forces.

It was between 62 and 75 miles south of the incident, before apparently returning to its base in Malta.

Two Russian Mi-8 helicopters were seen flying to and from the scene of the strike on the landing ship today in an apparent desperate rescue operation in a calm sea

Two Russian Mi-8 helicopters were seen flying to and from the scene of the strike on the landing ship today in an apparent desperate rescue operation in a calm sea

Videos today showed a suspected Ukrainian strike at a Russian warship off the southern coast of annexed Crimea

Videos today showed a suspected Ukrainian strike at a Russian warship off the southern coast of annexed Crimea

The ship was seen ablaze as rescue vessels - including a surfaced submarine - descended on the scene just off the coast of resort city Alupka

The ship was seen ablaze as rescue vessels – including a surfaced submarine – descended on the scene just off the coast of resort city Alupka

Captain Alexander Chirva, of Russian landing ship Caesar Kunikov, killed in the war in Ukraine

Captain Alexander Chirva, of Russian landing ship Caesar Kunikov, killed in the war in Ukraine

Blurry videos showed an explosion at the ship

Blurry videos showed an explosion at the ship

Caesar Kunikov large landing ship, part of Russian Black Sea Fleet

Caesar Kunikov large landing ship, part of Russian Black Sea Fleet 

An armoured vehicle disembarks from the Caesar Kunikov landing ship

An armoured vehicle disembarks from the Caesar Kunikov landing ship

Two Russian Mi-8 helicopters were seen flying to and from the scene of the strike on the landing ship today in an apparent desperate rescue operation in a calm sea. 

The strike on the Caesar Kunikov comes just two weeks after Ukraine destroyed the £55 million Black Sea missile ship Ivanovets.

The 184ft warship was hit by multiple drones off annexed Crimea.

The operation was spearheaded by Group 13 special forces of the Ukrainian GUR military intelligence agency.

The list of sunk ships includes the Moskva cruiser, Putin’s Black Sea Fleet flagship, which was struck by Neptune missiles in April 2022.

Putin has still not given an accurate toll for the losses on the sunken Moskva.

Several large landing ships have been sunk, including most recently the Novocherkassk, struck December 26, 2023.

At least 33 sailors are feared dead.



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