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Russian Black Sea ship engulfed in smoke, video appears to show

Another Russian Black Sea Fleet vessel was reportedly damaged in annexed Crimea this week, according to a video circulating on Telegram showing a warship engulfed in smoke.

If confirmed, it would be the second Black Sea Fleet ship to be damaged in the space of a few days.

On Friday, the Crimean Wind Telegram channel shared photos and videos that appear to show plumes of black smoke rising from a vessel. It reported that a Russian Buyan class M corvette Grad, which is equipped with a Kalibr system, was damaged.

However, according to Ukrainian military news outlet Defense Express, the vessel in the videos circulating online is a Russian Black Sea Fleet patrol ship.

The videos were also shared on Telegram by an advisor to the mayor of Mariupol, Pyotr Andryushchenko. Newsweek couldn’t independently verify the authenticity of the images and videos.

Earlier on Friday, locals reported hearing a loud explosion near the port of Sevastopol in Crimea.

“A Russian ship blew up in occupied Sevastopol. Even in the center of Sevastopol, a loud explosion was heard, car alarms went off,” wrote Andryushchenko.

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.

Russian officials haven’t commented on the reports that a Black Sea Fleet vessel was damaged on Friday.

Newsweek has contacted Russia’s Defense Ministry via email for comment.

The reports come after Ukrainian navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk said Wednesday that Russia’s Pavel Derzhavin patrol vessel was struck in the southern peninsula.

“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 told Radio Svoboda, the Russian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The Black Sea Fleet had obtained the patrol ship Pavel Derzhavin in 2020, according to Russia’s state-run news agency Tass.

Amid a string of attacks on Crimea by Ukraine, satellite images dated October 1 and 2 showed that Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is repositioning from the port of Sevastopol to Novorossiysk in Krasnodar Krai in southern Russia and the Russian naval port in Feodosia on the annexed peninsula.

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Update 13/10/23 at 6:35 a.m. ET: This article was updated with additional information.

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