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Ukraine Says It Struck a Brand-New Russian Cruise-Missile Carrier Before It Even Got a Chance to Fight

Ukraine struck a new Russian missile carrier over the weekend, causing significant damage to the vessel before it had even had the chance to join the Black Sea Fleet, military officials said.

On Saturday evening, the commander of Ukraine’s air force, Mykola Oleshchuk, announced Ukraine had targeted the Zaliv shipyard in the Russian-occupied peninsula of Crimea.

His post hinted that French-supplied SCALP missiles, also known as Storm Shadow missiles, were used in the attack.

Oleshchuk added that Russia was keeping one of its most modern warships, which is capable of carrying Kalibre cruise missiles, at Zaliv. He didn’t name the ship.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense admitted damage to one of its ships on Saturday, saying Ukraine had launched a barrage of 15 cruise missiles at the shipyard, which it referred to by its alternative name of Butomy, the state-owned news agency RIA Novosti reported.

The ministry said it shot down 13 of the missiles.

A Ukrainian ministerial advisor, Anton Gerashchenko, also posted footage that appeared to show a large blaze at the shipyard.

After analyzing satellite images released by Planet Labs on Sunday, the Ukrainian naval captain Andriy Ryzhenko told Radio Free Europe’s investigative arm that the ship damaged was probably the corvette Askold.

“You can see that it’s still afloat, but the upper part of the ship is significantly damaged,” The Kyiv Independent quoted Ryzhenko as saying.

Black Sea Fleet, a website that closely follows the Russian fleet’s movements, says the Askold is a small missile carrier capable of bearing eight Kalibr cruise missiles. These missiles allow it to strike ground targets more than 1,500 miles away.

The naval news website Maritime Executive reported that Askold would have been brand new at the time of the strike.

The vessel was undergoing testing in the Black Sea and was intended to officially join the fleet’s operations this year, the Black Sea Fleet site said.

The ship didn’t even have time to join the fight, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian air force, Yuriy Ihnat, told broadcasters.

The Black Sea Fleet’s Telegram channel, which has been known to deny reports of Ukrainian strikes in the past, has been silent on the subject.

Russia regularly uses its Black Sea Fleet to target Ukrainian infrastructure with cruise missiles. In September, during one of its largest attacks to date, a barrage of 43 cruise missiles caused blackouts across multiple Ukrainian regions.

Attacks such as these have put the Black Sea Fleet high on Ukraine’s hit list.

In September, Ukraine damaged two ships at the port of Sevastopol in Crimea, in a move that analysts said prompted Russia to redistribute much of its fleet away from the key port.

Source : Business Insider