Putin navy suffers double blow as Ukraine 'hits' Konstantin Olshansky landing ship and reconnaissance vessel

Putin navy suffers double blow as Ukraine 'hits' Konstantin Olshansky landing ship and reconnaissance vessel

Vladimir Putin’s navy suffered a fresh double blow as Ukraine hit the Konstantin Olshansky landing ship with a Neptune missile and damaged another vessel, say military sources.

The Konstantin Olshansky was seized by Russia from Ukraine ten years ago.

“Currently, this ship is not combat-capable,” said Ukrainian navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk.

Ukrainian officials are also stressing that attacks on the Russian naval base of Sevastopol, in annexed Crimea, on Saturday night caused more damage than originally assessed.

The Ukrainian military initially said it hit two large Russian landing ships, the Azov and Yamal, as well as a communications centre and other infrastructure used by the Russian navy in the Black Sea.

The Yamal was said to be taking on so much water that it was having to be continuously pumped out.

The officials added that the Konstantin Olshansky was struck with a Neptune anti-ship missile, sustaining damage that Kyiv was still assessing.

The Ivan Khurs reconnaissance vessel was also reported to have been hit.

There was no immediate comment from Russia.

The Konstantin Olshansky, previously a Ukrainian warship, was captured by Russia along with much of the Ukrainian navy in 2014 when the Kremlin's troops seized control of Crimea, the traditional base of the Black Sea Fleet.

Russia cannibalised the vessel for parts for other landing ships, Mr Pletenchuk said.

But Ukrainian strikes on large landing ships created a shortage and forced the Russian navy to prepare the ship to be brought back into service over the past year, he added.

"It had gone through a renovation and was being prepared for use against Ukraine, so unfortunately the decision was taken to strike this (ship)," he explained.

"Out of 13 (large landing ships), four have been destroyed, four are being repaired, and five are in working order," he said.

The Yamal and Azov warships that were also hit over the weekend have reportedly been taken for repairs.

Ukraine also said it was improving its sea drones, making them more powerful, which have so far proved effective against Putin’s navy.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has been pushed back from Crimea towards Russia and away from the western Black Sea after losing a string of vessels.

The flagship of the fleet, the Moskva, was sunk in spring 2022.

The losses and attacks on Sevastopol are believed to have impacted the navy’s capacity, as the Crimean port is believed to be one of the few where Kalibr missiles can be loaded onto vessels.

This type of missile has been only used to a limited extent in recent months, according to Ukrainian officials.

Ukraine shot down all 12 attack drones launched overnight by Russia, Kyiv’s air force said in a statement on Tuesday.

It added that the Iranian-made drones were destroyed over the southern Mykolaiv and eastern Kharkiv regions.

Russian forces were reported to be gradually seizing more territory in the Donetsk province of eastern Ukraine, but to be suffering heavy losses in their advances.

Ukrainian forces, hampered by munition shortages partly blamed on Republicans blocking a huge new military aid package to Kyiv, are facing difficulties holding some defences.