Russian Navy Ship Destroyed After Propaganda Footage Gave Away Its Location
A Russian navy ship used to unload reinforcements has been destroyed, the Ukrainian defence ministry has confirmed.
The ship in question is believed to be the Orsk - a Russian Alligator-class large landing vessel used to transport vehicles and troops for amphibious landings - and was hit by a suspected missile strike while docked in the Russian-occupied city of Berdyansk.
Images and video footage taken this morning, 24 March, showed a large fireball at the port, followed by thick clouds of smoke billowing from an area where Russian ships were believed to be docked.
Бердянськ!!!— 🇺🇦Armed Forces (@ArmedForcesUkr) March 24, 2022
У 🇷🇺окупантів добряче палає!🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/ElfkXMRwOQ
Subsequent images have showed a fire burning on the ship, while other Russian landing vessels sailed away from the port. It's not known if any other ships have suffered damage with the number of casualties also unconfirmed.
Ironically, the attack on the Orsk came just days after the vessel was seen in propaganda footage released by state-run Russian news channel Zvezda, unloading armoured vehicles and reinforcements.
In a tweet, Ukraine's Armed Force command wrote: 'Berdyansk !!! The [Russian] occupiers are burning well!'
Ukraine did not reveal further information about the strike, however analysts have said the ship was likely targeted by a Tochka-U ballistic missile.
Berdyansk has been under Russian control since the early days of the war, and is understood to be a crucial route for resupply to forces attempting to take control of the larger coastal city of Mariupol. In the footage released by the defence ministry, the Orsk was said to be the first large Russian vessel used to unload supplies at the port.
Zvezda claimed that 10 landing ships capable of carrying tanks and armed personnel carries were participating in the resupply operation. It's not known whether the port itself sustained any damage in the attack, however if it were rendered unusable it would likely hamper Russian efforts to bring reinforcements to Mariupol.
If confirmed, the Orsk would be the sixth Russian vessel claimed destroyed by Ukraine during the first month of fighting, as the country attempts to defend its strategically important port cities. Russia has not confirmed any naval losses.
The Ukrainian think tank Centre for Defence Strategies has also claimed that the country's officials are investigating reports that Russian ships have stolen vessels carrying grain from the port of Berdyansk.
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