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Russian navy ship 'destroyed' in Black Sea off Crimea, Kremlin confirms, as 'two Ukrainian fighter jets destroyed'
26 December 2023, 08:58 | Updated: 26 December 2023, 11:55
A Russian ship near Crimea in the Black Sea has been hit by a Ukrainian strike, the Kremlin's defence ministry has said.
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The landing ship Novocherkassk was damaged by plane-launched guided missiles while near the city of Feodosia, officials said. Ukraine said the ship was destroyed.
One person is said to have been killed and two more injured in the air strike.
The Russian defence ministry added that two Ukrainian fighter jets were destroyed by anti-aircraft fire during the attack.
Over recent months, Ukrainian forces have conducted attacks around Crimea, mostly with sea drones, and President Volodymyr Zelensky says those attacks have allowed Ukraine to restore navigation in the Black Sea and allowing the export of millions of tons of grain.
There was no immediate report of how bad the Russian ship was damaged, but videos on Ukrainian channels showed an extensive fire in the port area.
"The Russian fleet has become smaller," Ukrainian air force Commander Mykola Oleschuk said in a mocking message on the Telegram app.
He urged Russians to leave Crimea - which Moscow annexed in 2014 - "while it's not too late".
The air force did not say whether any of its planes were shot down in the attack.
A summary from the Ukrainian presidential office on Tuesday said Russia had launched 18 drones against the Odesa and Mykolaiv regions, 13 of which were shot down, over the past day.
The remaining drones caused infrastructure damage but no casualties were reported, the summary said.
it comes after the UK transferred two minehunter ships to Ukraine to help counteract the Russian blockade in the Black Sea.
The two Sandown Class mine countermeasures vessels will help Ukrainian ships find explosives left by the Russians in the sea, a move that would allow Kyiv to increase exports in the Black Sea trade route.
British intelligence sources warned in October that Russia could use sea mines against civilian ships.
The British Ministry of Defence said the UK would lead a new maritime capability coalition alongside Norway to increase support for Ukraine in its war with Russia.
The coalition will deliver long-term support, including training, equipment and infrastructure to boost security in the Black Sea, the ministry said.
Ukraine and Russia had previously agreed to a deal that allowed Kyiv to export food products through the Black Sea, but Russia pulled out in July.
Vladimir Putin's government said afterwards that ships near Ukrainian ports would be considered potential supporters of Kyiv's war efforts.
Ukraine set up a "humanitarian corridor" across the sea to its ports in response. Several NATO members, including Turkey, also border the Black Sea.