Ukraine says it damaged Russian rescue ship in Crimea

By Thomson Reuters Apr 21, 2024 | 1:05 PM

(Reuters) – Ukraine’s military said on Sunday it had struck and damaged a long-serving Russian rescue vessel in Sevastopol, the headquarters in occupied Crimea of Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet.

Navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk said the vessel, the Kommuna, had been hit in Sevastopol Bay on Sunday morning and it was “clear that the ship is no longer in a state to carry out assignments.”

A post on the Ukrainian Armed Forces Telegram channel said the ship was one of the oldest operated by the Russian navy and had been launched in 1913.

News reports said the vessel had been dispatched as part of a rescue operation when Ukrainian forces sank the Russian Fleet’s Moskva flagship in April 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has pointed to the military’s success in attacking and containing Russia’s Crimea-based fleet in the nearly 26-month-old war against Russia. Crimea was seized and annexed by Russia in 2014.

Pletenchuk said earlier this month that Ukrainian operations had taken out of action about a third of the Russian fleet since the start of the war.

Sevastopol’s Russia-installed governor, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said earlier that Russian forces had repelled an anti-ship missile attack on one of its vessels in the port.

Razvozhayev said fallen fragments caused a small fire, which was promptly extinguished.

(Reporting by Ron Popeski and Nick Starkov; Editing by Leslie Adler)