Ukraine claims to have destroyed a huge Russian ship just days after state media filmed it unloading reinforcements at a captured port, as Putin’s army continues to suffer punishing losses at the hands of Kyiv’s men.
The Ukrainian navy said early Thursday that it had scored a direct hit on the Orsk, a 370ft Russian Alligator-class tank carrier, as it was sitting at anchor in the captured port of Berdyansk, in the south of Ukraine.
Multiple photos and videos showed flames and thick black smoke towering over the port. Just three days before the strike, Russian state media had filmed the Orsk at the port unloading armoured vehicles which it said would reinforce troops in nearby Mariupol – prompting speculation that Ukraine could use the video to target the vessel.
H I Sutton, a respected naval analyst, later said it is ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that an Alligator-class ship had exploded at the port. It marks the largest ship that Ukrainian forces have managed to strike so-far and represents another embarrassing loss for Vladimir Putin’s beleaguered army.
It comes after NATO said Russia has lost up to 40,000 men either killed, wounded or captured in just over a month of fighting – or a quarter of the150,000 troops assembled ahead of the invasion. It means the force that remains is at risk of becoming combat ineffective, making it vulnerable to Ukrainian counter-attacks.