A patrol vessel of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was damaged in Crimea on Wednesday, Ukrainian Navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk said, after blasts were reported in the annexed Black Sea peninsula.
Russia’s Pavel Derzhavin vessel was struck in the Black Sea near the port of Sevastopol in Crimea, Pletenchuk told Radio Svoboda, the Russian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Strikes in Crimea, Russia’s central logistics hub for its forces in southern Ukraine, have become routine in recent months amid Kyiv’s counteroffensive to reclaim territory occupied by Russian forces. Attacks have struck military targets in a push to weaken Moscow’s defenses and disrupt Russia from transporting equipment, weapons, and troops from mainland Russia into the peninsula.
Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s Black Sea Fleet has been targeted in a number of strikes.
The Black Sea Fleet had obtained patrol ship Pavel Derzhavin in 2020, according to Russia’s state-run news agency Tass.
“You are the first to whom I officially confirm today that it was damaged. I cannot provide you with any information regarding the circumstances of this, let’s say, incident,” Pletenchuk said.
Earlier, a number of local Telegram channels had reported that the Pavel Derzhavin patrol ship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was “blown up” in Sevastopol.
Russian officials have yet to comment on reports that it has been damaged. Newsweek reached out to Russia’s Defense Ministry for comment via email.
On September 22, Ukraine launched a missile attack on the fleet’s headquarters in Sevastopol, reportedly killing a number of top officers.
Nine days earlier, on September 13, a Ukrainian missile attack on the Sevastopol shipyard damaged a Russian submarine and cruise missile carrier—the Rostov-on-Don—and a large vessel, the Minsk, as they underwent repairs.
The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S.-based think tank, assessed on Sunday that Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has been degraded but not defeated by recent Ukrainian strikes in Crimea.
“Strikes on Black Sea Fleet assets are degrading its role as a combined arms headquarters but have not defeated it as a naval force,” the ISW said.
“Ukrainian strikes generate outsized morale shocks among Russian commanders and in the Russian information space. Western provision of long-range missiles to Ukraine would amplify this ongoing, essential, and timely campaign to weaken Russia’s ability to defend southern Ukraine,” the ISW said.
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