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Ukrainian military says it sank Russian landing ship Caesar Kunikov in Black Sea

Source: Meduza

On Wednesday, the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) General Staff reported that Ukrainian intelligence had destroyed the Caesar Kunikov, one of the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s large landing ships. News outlet Ukrainska Pravda was the first to report that the ship had been sunk, citing sources in Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate. Videos from eyewitnesses, published by the Telegram channel Crimean Wind, show something burning at sea and helicopters flying over the water. The Russian Defense Ministry has not yet commented on the attack.

The AFU General Staff stated that the Caesar Kunikov was “located in Ukrainian waters near Alupka at the moment of the strike.” Ukrainska Pravda’s sources said the attack was carried out by Ukraine's Main Intelligence Directorate. Later, the directorate published a video purportedly showing the destruction of the ship. The footage shows several maritime drones attacking a ship resembling a Project 775 large landing ship, the class to which the Caesar Kunikov belongs. There is an explosion in the middle of the video, and, at the end, the ship is listing to one side.


According to Ukrainian intelligence, they attacked the Caesar Kunikov with Magura V5 maritime drones, critically breaching it on its port side and causing it to sink. Representatives of Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate said the search and rescue operation “was not successful.”

It is unknown how many people were on board at the time of the attack. According to open source data, the ship has 87 crew members. An eyewitness told Crimean Wind that after the attack, wounded and dead sailors were transported to Sevastopol, accompanied by police vehicles. The Kremlin-appointed authorities of annexed Crimea and Sevastopol have not commented.

At a press briefing, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov redirected all questions about the strike to the Russian Defense Ministry, calling it a military matter. On Wednesday, Russia’s defense ministry only stated that air defense systems had destroyed six aircraft-type drones over the Black Sea.

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