The Russian military has destroyed Ukraine’s “last warship,” the Yury Olefirenko, in a high-precision airstrike, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said on Wednesday.
“On May 29, as a result of a strike by a high-precision weapon of the Russian Aerospace Forces on a warship mooring in the port of Odessa, the last warship of the Naval Forces of Ukraine, the Yury Olefirenko, was destroyed,” the ministry stated in a report shared on its Telegram channel.
A day earlier, war correspondent Andrey Rudenko also reported that the Yury Olefirenko had been sunk after a series of overnight airstrikes on military facilities in Odessa, citing Ukrainian sources.
Rudenko claimed that a fire had broken out on the deck of the vessel, which is said to have caused the detonation of ammunition in the hold. The journalist said that significant losses had been reported among the crew.
Ukrainian officials have yet to confirm the sinking of the ship. Oleg Chalyk, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Navy, told Reuters that he would not respond to Russian claims, and that the Ukrainian Navy would not disclose the details of any losses.
Originally named the SDK-137, the Yury Olefirenko was a type 773 medium landing ship that was built by Poland in 1971 for the Soviet Navy. It was transferred to Ukraine in 1994 and renamed the Kirovograd, and was stationed in Crimea.
When the peninsula voted to reunite with Russia in 2014, the vessel temporarily came under the control of the Russian fleet. However, it was later returned to Ukraine and towed to Odessa, where it received its latest name in 2016.
In its report, the Russian Defense Ministry also claimed that Ukraine had lost 200 soldiers in the Donetsk area, as well as three armored and 12 transport vehicles, one artillery piece, and two multiple launch rocket systems.
In the past 24 hours, Russian air defense systems intercepted 12 missiles launched from US-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), as well as one UK-supplied long-range Storm Shadow missile, the ministry added.