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Ukraine says it hit Russia’s stolen Ukrainian ship with Neptune missile in occupied Crimea

In Russian-occupied Crimea, Ukraine says it hit the large landing ship Kostiantyn Olshanskyi, with a Neptune missile, putting it out of action. Russia had stolen the ship from Ukraine in 2014 and was going to use it against Ukraine now.
Ukrainian Navy large landing ship Kostiantyn Olshanskyi captured by Russians in 2014 in occupied Sevastopol. Photo via defence-ua.com
Ukraine says it hit Russia’s stolen Ukrainian ship with Neptune missile in occupied Crimea

The Ukrainian military says it has hit the large landing ship Kostiantyn Olshanskyi with a domestic Neptune missile in Russian-occupied Crimea. The ship, formerly part of Ukraine’s navy, was seized by Moscow during its invasion and illegal annexation of the peninsula in 2014.

During the missile assault on occupied Crimea on 23 March, Ukrainian forces reportedly successfully targeted Russian military assets in Sevastopol, hitting the Yamal and Azov landing ships, along with the communication center of Russian occupation forces and several infrastructure facilities of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, potentially damaging another Russian ship, the Ivan Khurs.

According to Dmytro Pletenchuk, spokesman for the Ukrainian Navy, the decision was made to target the Kostiantyn Olshanskyi because “this ship was supposed to be used against Ukraine.” He noted that the Russians had stolen the ship nearly a decade ago and only recently begun restoring it for potential combat operations.

The navy spokesman also noted that the Russians wanted to make it appear that they had restored the same-type Minsk or Olenegorskiy Gornyak ships damaged by Ukraine earlier. But the damage there is such that the restoration of the ships is a big question.

It could have been either Minsk or Olenegorsky Gornyak, because the nature of the damage there is such that their restoration is still a big question. And, accordingly, there was an idea to pass off our ship as one of those,” Pletenchuk said.

The Kostiantyn Olshanskyi stood in the bay for nine years, and the Russians began to dismantle it for spare parts. In the tenth year of the war, the occupiers realized that they were running out of large landing ships, so they restored the Kostyantyn Olshansky during the year, Pletenchuk explained.

The Navy spokesman also revealed that Ukraine’s forces had damaged Russian reconnaissance equipment on the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s reconnaissance vessel, Ivan Khurs.

“As for the ‘Ivan Khurs,’ we can confirm the hitting of reconnaissance equipment in the assault part of the ship,” he stated.

In addition, the Navy spokesman said that the large Russian landing ships Azov and Yamal, which were hit the day before, will not be able to perform combat missions in the near future.

While the full extent of damage is still being assessed, Pletenchuk made clear that the Kostiantyn Olshanskyi is “definitely not combat-ready at the moment” after the Ukrainian missile strike.

Earlier Russia appointed Admiral Moiseyev as the new Commander in Chief of the Russian Navy, as he was expected to prioritize stabilizing the Black Sea security situation and implementing changes to improve the combat capability of the Black Sea Fleet, according to UK intelligence.

Despite lacking a formidable navy, Ukraine has effectively countered the Russian Black Sea Fleet and altered the power dynamics in the Black Sea through unconventional means. Despite limited resources, including a small number of anti-ship missiles such as American Harpoons, SCALP, and Storm Shadows, alongside the development of agile surface drones, Ukraine has successfully neutralized some of Russia’s largest naval vessels, despite its lack of powerful surface ships or submarines.

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