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Ukraine claims destruction of major Russian navy vessel in Crimea

Ukraine claims destruction of major Russian navy vessel in Crimea © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Russian Navy’s large landing ship Novocherkassk sets sail in Bosphorus, on its way to the Mediterranean Sea, in Istanbul, Turkey April 12, 2021. REUTERS/Murad Sezer/File Photo

(Reuters) -Ukraine’s air force said on Tuesday that it had destroyed a major Russia landing ship stationed in the Crimean waters, after the Russian-installed governor of Crimea said that Kyiv’s assault sparked a fire in the port of Feodosia.

“And the fleet in Russia is getting smaller and smaller! Thanks to the Air Force pilots and everyone involved for the filigree work!” the commander of Ukraine’s air force, Mykola Oleshchuk, said on the Telegram messaging app, without providing evidence.

In a separate statement, Ukraine’s air force said, also without providing evidence, that its pilots attacked Feodosia at around 02:30 a.m. (0030 GMT) with cruise missiles, destroying the Novocherkassk vessel of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

The report could not be independently verified and there was no immediate comment from Russia on the alleged destruction of the ship. It was not immediately known what missiles Ukraine reportedly used and how many of them.

Earlier on Tuesday, Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian-installed governor of Crimea, said only that the Ukrainian attack resulted in a fire in the town’s port area that was promptly contained.

“All relevant emergency services are on site,” Aksyonov said on the Telegram. “Residents of several houses will be evacuated.”

The Russian-installed administration of Crimea said in a statement that due to “technical reasons” trains will not be departing from Feodosia for the time being and that street traffic was partially blocked in Feodosia.

The town of Feodosia, which has a population of around 69,000 people, lies on the southern coast of the Crimean Peninsula.

Footage posted on several Russian news outlets on Telegram showed powerful explosions and fires over a port area.

Both Russia and Ukraine have often exaggerated the losses they claim to have inflicted upon each other in the 22-month long war, while underestimated their own casualty and equipment losses.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in a broadly condemned move in 2014.

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