Humiliation for Putin after Ukraine strikes prize Russian warship which survived both World Wars

Ukraine has taken responsibility for a missile strike which left a Russian navy ship – the oldest active duty vessel in the world – ablaze today.

Footage emerged this morning of a fire and heavy smoke billowing from one end of a ship, reportedly the 112-year-old Kommuna salvage vessel, in Sukharnaya Bay in the Russian-occupied Crimean city of Sevastopol.

Fire engines were scrambled to extinguish the blaze on board the ship – which has sailed for the modern Russian, Soviet and even Imperial Russian navies since before the start of the First World War.

The inferno followed a series of explosions in the area as authorities were forced to put out missile warnings and temporarily close the Russian-built Kerch Bridge.

Footage emerged this morning of a fire and heavy smoke billowing from one end of the ship in Sevastopol, Crimea


The governor of the occupied region, Mikhail Razvozhaev, admitted an anti-ship missile had been launched and had caused the fire – but claimed it was then “quickly extinguished”.

Local media speculated that a Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missile had damaged the ship, but Russian sources hit back, claiming the missile had been shot down and the resulting debris – “falling fragments”, according to Razvozhaev – had led to a fire on board.

A spokesman from Ukraine’s navy, Dmytro Pletenchuk, told Ukrainian outlet LIGA that the fire had been the “successful work of the Navy”.

Pletenchuk continued: “We confirm. A strike was carried out by the forces of the Naval Forces.”


\u200bThe salvage vessel Kommuna

The Kommuna (pictured) was reportedly readying up to attempt to recover the Moskva, the sunken flagship in Russia’s Black Sea Fleet

Wikimedia Commons

One Telegram channel claimed: “Divers are now also examining the water area to exclude the presence of explosive elements near the pier.”

The Kommuna was reportedly readying up to attempt to recover the Moskva, the flagship in Russia’s Black Sea Fleet infamously sunk by Ukraine – with open-source intelligence analysts alleging it was “carrying [a] deep-diving submersible”.

The salvage vessel, which had seen deployments as a submarine tender – and had serviced British submarines in the 1910s – had been set to help rescue weapons, bodies and sensitive material from the wreck, which has been on the seafloor since April 2022.

Ukrainian attacks on Russian ships, via both ‘kamikaze drones’ and missile strikes, have led Putin to withdraw the majority of his vessels from the Black Sea entirely.

Old photo of the salvage vessel Kommuna

The salvage vessel Kommuna was laid down in 1912, and has been in service since 1915

Wikimedia Commons

Ukraine has been quick to show off successful attacks on Russian ships – earlier this year, Ukrainian official social media accounts declared Ivanovets, a small warship, had received “direct hits to the hull” while in service in Lake Donuzlav, a saltwater bay on the western side of the Crimean peninsula, sinking it.

While last month, Ukrainian officials joked that a Russian patrol ship had been “upgraded to a submarine” after an attack by unmanned ‘sea drones’.

Zelensky’s forces have relied on the drones throughout the war, even claiming they had been used in attacks on the Kerch Bridge in 2022 and 2023.

Western sources estimate Ukraine has destroyed around a fifth of Russia’s Black Sea fleet since February 2022

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