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Ukraine says it has disabled a third of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet after sinking another warship

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Ukraine claims it has now disabled a third of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet after its military intelligence said it sank another Russian warship in a sea drone attack off the coast of Crimea on Wednesday.

Russia’s landing ship Caesar Kunikov was attacked with “MAGURA” V5 drones that punctured “critical holes” on its left side before sinking, the Ukrainian military intelligence agency said on Telegram.

That aligns with Ukrainian claims last week that they had disabled about 33% of Russia’s warships, amounting to 24 disabled ships and one submarine. The landing ship Caesar Kunikov would be the 25th disabled ship, according to Ukraine’s count.

Wednesday’s attack was conducted by the agency’s “Group 13” special forces unit in cooperation with Ukraine’s security and defense forces, the statement said.

Night-time footage provided by Ukraine showed a sea drone racing toward the Caesar Kunikov, before a huge plume of smoke rose from the vessel.

“This has to do with the course of the special military operation, so it is the prerogative of the Ministry of Defense. I suggest you refer to the statements of our military colleagues. I can’t say anything about this,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a news briefing.

Wednesday’s attack is the latest in a series of Ukrainian strikes on Russia’s navy, as it tries to land both strategic and symbolic blows against Russian forces that annexed Crimea in 2014.

As Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine nears its second anniversary, the frontlines have for months remained mostly static. But since last year Ukraine has pivoted to the Black Sea, saying its strikes on Crimea and Russian ships are intended to isolate the peninsula and make it more difficult for Russia to sustain its military operations on the Ukrainian mainland.

Earlier this month, Ukraine said it sank the Ivanovets, a Russian guided-missile ship, also in the Black Sea. Its most notable strike was on the Moskva in April 2022, which forced Russia to change the way it operates close to areas controlled by Ukraine.

But they have a large range of around 800 kilometers (nearly 500 miles), so military units can launch drones from across large swathes of Ukraine’s coastline for missions against Crimean targets.

“It is these unmanned systems – such as drones – along with other types of advanced weapons, that provide the best way for Ukraine to avoid being drawn into a positional war, where we do not possess the advantage,” Zaluzhnyi wrote.

“No warship can be as maneuverable as these drones,” the pilot added.

This post appeared first on cnn.com

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