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Ukraine’s drones target Russian Warship, Displaying growing naval prowess in the Black Sea conflict


KYIV, Ukraine – In a significant show of its increasing naval capabilities, Ukraine announced that its sea drones executed a successful strike on a major Russian port, severely damaging a Russian warship. The attack, which took place on Friday, marked the first time a commercial Russian port has been targeted during the nearly 18-month-long conflict, highlighting the escalating tensions in the Black Sea region.

The targeted port, Novorossiysk, plays a vital role in Russia’s maritime activities, serving as a naval base, shipbuilding yards, and an oil terminal crucial for exports. The port lies approximately 110 kilometers (about 60 miles) east of Crimea, the contested region where Russia’s Defense Ministry claims to have thwarted another attack.

According to an official from the Security Service of Ukraine, the attack was jointly carried out by the country’s navy and the SBU, resulting in significant damage to the Russian Navy’s Olenegorsky Gornyak landing vessel. Satellite photos analyzed by The Associated Press showed the ship leaking oil and listing to one side.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy acknowledged the attack but did not provide specific details from the report he received from the SBU. However, he expressed gratitude to the Security Service of Ukraine for pushing back against the aggressor state.

This strike is part of a series of recent attacks within Russia, including two in Moscow, signaling Ukraine’s determination to challenge Russia’s naval power in the Black Sea. The conflict intensified following Russia’s withdrawal from an agreement allowing Ukraine to export grain through the waterway. In retaliation, Russian drones caused significant damage and a massive fire at grain facilities in the Odesa region.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Zelenskyy, lauded the attack, stating that it demonstrates how drones are transforming the dynamics of the conflict and undermining the value of the Russian fleet. While Russia’s Black Sea Fleet boasts nearly 50 warships, seven submarines, and numerous support vessels, Ukraine has faced challenges after losing over 80% of its naval capabilities due to the illegal annexation of Crimea.

Despite Russia’s naval superiority, Ukraine has managed to sink one of Russia’s flagship vessels, the Moskva missile cruiser, and destroy the Saratov landing ship in the occupied port of Berdyansk.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that its navy successfully repelled Friday’s attack, stating that its ships destroyed two Ukrainian sea drones. However, social media videos and reports suggest that the Russian landing ship was, indeed, damaged in the attack.

The Black Sea has become an increasingly important battleground in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. As tensions persist, maritime traffic has been disrupted, raising concerns over the safety and security of crucial sea routes in the region.

In other developments, the U.N. atomic watchdog confirmed that its monitors at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant found no mines or explosives on rooftops and turbine halls, easing concerns of a potential radiation leak.

Amidst the escalating conflict, Saudi Arabia announced it will host an international meeting on the Ukraine war, with national security advisers and officials in attendance. Ukraine will be represented at the talks, while Russia has not been invited.

As the situation in the Black Sea remains tense, the world watches closely as Ukraine’s naval capabilities continue to evolve and challenge Russia’s dominance in the region.

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