MORE than 30 Russian sailors are believed to have died after a British-supplied missile sank a key Russian warship.
The strike is said to have triggered an explosion of ammunition on a Novocherkassk landing ship with some 77 people on board.
TELEGRAM/UNPIXSRussia confirmed one of its warships was damaged in a Ukrainian attack on a Black Sea port[/caption]
Of those on board, 33 are reportedly considered “missing” and 19 wounded.
The vessel was located in Feodosia port in annexed Crimea at the time of the attack, according to independent ASTRA media.
A massive explosion was reportedly triggered by a £2.5million British-supplied Storm Shadow missile on ship’s bow.
Early reports indicate the ship’s commander Captain Nikolay Stepanenko, 39, survived the attack or was not on the vessel.
His wife Oksana had said she “suspected” he was on board, but he was quoted by Agentsvo independent media saying: “No one was injured, everything is smooth, everything is fine.”
Pictures appear to show the ship was completely destroyed and sunk.
And a report stated four ambulances took wounded sailors to Sevastopol as there was no space in Feodosian hospitals.
In previous strikes on Russian warships, all of the people who were officially listed as “missing” were later revealed to be dead.
Ukrainian Telegram channel Crimean Wind said today: “Let us translate into normal language – ‘missing people’ are those who burned to the ground or simply evaporated as a result of the explosion.
“Similarly, the Russian government announced ‘missing people’ after the destruction of the Minsk landing craft and the Rostov-on-Don submarine at Sevmorzavod.
“And then [afterwards] the Russian regional media began publishing obituaries with the words ‘the entire crew died, we express our condolences’.”
A large quantity of munitions are said to have been on board the ship when the UK-supplied missile struck, sending pieces of the vessel flying far and wide.
One piece of the ship’s hull was found more than half a mile from the explosion site while other debris was scattered around Feodosia.
Some 4,400 pieces of artillery ammunition, 280 missiles for the BM-21 Grad MLRS, and Iranian Shahed drones intended to be used to strike Ukrainian targets were on board the Novocherkassk, according to reports.
The Russian UTS-150 training vessel was also damaged in the strike.
Earlier, Ukraine claimed “the ship’s crew” were killed with one official, Anton Gerashchenko, reporting 62 were on board – a different figure to the ASTRA report.
Spokesman for the Ukrainian air force Yuriy Ignat said: “After such an explosion, it is clear that not only the ship itself was destroyed.
“Maybe some other port infrastructure, maybe some support vessels that were nearby and definitely – the ship’s crew…”
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