Photo Credit: USNI News

Russian landing ship sunk by Ukrainian military in the Black Sea

10 days before the two-year anniversary of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Ukraine has confirmed its sinking of a Russian landing ship, near Alupka, 2.5 miles (4km) off the coast of the Russian-occupied Crimea Peninsula.

The ship, known as Caesar Kunikov, was capable of carrying 87 personnel and was transporting ammunition when it was attacked through a port-side breach in a naval drone-based strike as confirmed by Ukraine on Wednesday morning. Magura V5 floating drones were used to initiate and carry out the attack, capable of carrying approximately 700 pounds of weight and traveling up to 50 miles per hour (80kph).

“The Ukrainian Armed Forces, together with the Defence Ministry’s intelligence unit, destroyed the Tsezar Kunikov large landing ship. It was in Ukraine’s territorial waters near Alupka at the time of the hit,” the military said on Telegram messenger.

The main intelligence doctorate also stated that a proposed rescue mission of the 87 personnel was not successful, resulting in most of the crew being killed from the strike. 

Russian military forces as well as the Kremlin have yet to confirm the sinking of the warship, only confirming the destruction of six Ukrainian naval drones. Russian military bloggers, who provide the majority of information regarding the conflict to Russia’s citizens, did not deny the occurrence of the attack, but affirmed the survival of the crew, aligning with the military’s tendency to avoid reporting major losses of life or armory.  

A video posted on Youtube by the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine features the warship in moments immediately before and after the attack, with bright flashes of light and explosions signifying the port-side breach and fire that led to the ship’s eventual sinking. 

Crimea has been a long-disputed area between Russian and Ukrainian forces, originally being annexed by Russia in 2014. 

Attacking Russian warships in and around the Black Sea is one strategy proposed by Ukraine to allow for a shipping route to open in the critical area for the minimal Ukrainian naval forces.The attacking force has suffered heavy damages with 25 Russian military vessels reported lost, eliminating a third of the overall fleet. 

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