Espreso. Global

Ukraine sinks Russian large landing ship Caesar Kunikov

14 February, 2024 Wednesday

On the morning of Wednesday, February 14, in the Black Sea, Ukrainian defenders, together with the Defense Intelligence(HUR), damaged the Russian large landing ship Caesar Kunikov

The HUR reports that the Russian ship was attacked by Magura V5 maritime strike drones off the coast of the temporarily occupied Crimea near the city of Alupka. The ship received critical damage to its left side and sank.

"It is symbolic that the Russian officer after whom the ship was named was killed exactly 81 years ago," the Defence Intelligence wrote.

Ukraine's General Staff confirmed the damage to the ship, noting that at the time of the attack, the ship was in the territorial waters of Ukraine near the occupied Alupka.

First, Ukrainska Pravda and Suspilne wrote that as a result of the HUR attack, the large landing ship Caesar Kunikov sank in the Black Sea. 

Instead, the Crimean Wind Telegram channel reports an explosion at sea and helicopters over the water area.

Kremlin's reaction

Russia has refused to comment on the destruction of a large amphibious assault ship, RIA Novosti reports.

In response to a question about the ship, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he would not comment on reports of the attack. He also added that a "special operation" is underway, and therefore such comments are the prerogative of the Defense Ministry.

For reference. The Caesar Kunikov is a Russian Project 775 amphibious assault ship based in Sevastopol. 

This ship took part in the KFOR operation in Kosovo in 1999, the Russian-Georgian war in 2008, and provided supplies to the Syrian army in 2015.

Ukrainian Navy's reaction

Dmytro Pletenchuk, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Navy, said on Radio Liberty that after the destruction of the ship in the Black Sea, only five of the 13 ships of the Black Sea Fleet remain "in service."

"As the president of the Russian Federation once said, 'she sank' (this is how Putin commented on the sinking of the Kursk submarine in 2000 - ed.) In principle, we can use his words to comment on the situation that happened to the large Russian landing ship Caesar Kunikov. Colleagues from the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine have once again worked on another unnecessary object in the Black Sea," he said.

Later, Pletenchuk told Suspilne that the Caesar Kunikov was the last of three ships that broke into the port of Berdyansk at the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

"Not every Caesar is lucky enough to die twice, and on the same day. It was on February 14 that the serviceman in whose honor this ship was named died. This is a bit symbolic, of course, but no less symbolic is the fact that it was three of these large landing ships that broke into the port of Berdyansk at the beginning of the full-scale invasion, and all three of them met the same fate, caught up with them. Because the Novocherkassk and Caesar Kunikov were also damaged during the attack on the Saratov, which sank in the port of Berdyansk," he said.

At the same time, the spokesman said, the sunken ship was used mainly to solve logistical problems and provide supplies.

In addition, the ship had its own weapons, quite powerful, and could have been used in combat conditions if it "had not met with Ukrainian drones in the Black Sea.”

NATO Secretary General's reaction

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reacted to the ship's destruction and said that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had once again demonstrated their capabilities by destroying the ship, ArmyInform reports.

"Ukrainians are capable of inflicting heavy losses on the Russian fleet in the Black Sea. They were able to push the Russian Black Sea Fleet out of the western part of the Black Sea. This is a great achievement, a great victory for Ukrainians," he said, adding that this allows Ukraine to export grain to world markets.

He also emphasized that a few months ago, few people believed that this could be possible: "But now Ukraine is exporting grain even without an agreement with Russia. And this demonstrates the ability and strength of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”

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