Novocherkassk Destroyed and taking in Water likely to sink
Ukrainian forces struck a Russian naval landing ship in Crimea on Tuesday, inflicting another blow to Russia’s Black Sea fleet.
The Ukrainian air force said it used cruise missiles and that the attack destroyed the Novocherkassk.
Russian landing ship Novocherkassk Destroyed
Yurii Ihnat, spokesperson of Ukraine’s Air Forces Command, told VOA the Ukrainian military had information about the ship’s location and cargo, as well as Russian air defenses protecting the region.
Ihnat called the attack “an extremely difficult operation because it is not easy to sink such a ship.”
Ukraine’s military is getting better at delivering high-precision strikes, Ihnat said, adding that Russia “is losing, little by little, the Black Sea fleet and its influence in the Black Sea.”
Ihnat said he could not confirm whether the Novocherkassk was carrying Iranian-made drones, but said that could not be ruled out, nor whether the ship had ammunition Russia had received from its allies for use in Ukraine.
The Russian defense ministry said the Ukrainian attack damaged the Novocherkassk at a base in Feodosia.
Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian-installed governor of Crimea, said on Telegram the attack killed one person and injured two others.
Ukrainian Vice Admiral Oleksiy Neizhpapa, commander of the Ukrainian Navy, told VOA the Tuesday attack will affect the presence of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea.
“Now the ships of the Black Sea Fleet, which is located in Feodosia, understand that they are also the objects of attack by the armed forces of Ukraine, including at this base point,” he said.
Russian news agencies reported President Vladimir Putin was briefed about the attack.
Ukraine’s military also reported Tuesday downing 13 of 19 drones that Russia used in attacks overnight. It said the drones were destroyed in the Odesa, Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Khmelnytskyi regions.
Russia claimed Monday that its forces had captured the strategic town of Maryinka in eastern Ukraine, but Kyiv disputed the claim, reporting that its troops had repelled three “unsuccessful attacks” near the ruined and nearly deserted community.
“It’s not correct to talk about seizing Maryinka,” Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksandr Shtupun told Ukrainian TV following claims made by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during a televised meeting with President Vladimir Putin.
“The fighting for Maryinka continues,” Shtupun said. “Currently, our servicemen are within the administrative borders of Maryinka, but the city has been completely destroyed,” he added.
Maryinka is a relatively small town — with a prewar population under 10,000 — but, according to British intelligence, the Russian military has been seeking to capture it in order to advance further west and better protect occupied Donetsk city.
Ukraine also said Monday it had received $1.34 billion in financing, mostly through the World Bank — funds that will be partially used to compensate social programs for monies lost to security and defense financial needs.
The Finance Ministry said the package consisted of a $1.086 billion loan from the World Bank, a $190 million grant from Norway, $50 million from the United States, and $20 million from Switzerland.
“International financial assistance is a significant contribution to maintaining the financial and economic stability of Ukraine and allows us to ensure priority social expenditures during the war,” Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko said.
“Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the governments of Japan, the United States, Norway, and Switzerland have repeatedly demonstrated their unwavering support and solidarity to Ukraine,” he added.
Late Monday, the text of a draft law posted on the website of Ukraine’s parliament proposed lowering the age of those who can be mobilized for combat duty to 25 from 27.
The draft text detailed which Ukrainian citizens would be subject to enrollment for military registration of conscripts and said it would apply to those “who have reached the age of 25.”
President Zelenskyy told his end-of-year news conference on Dec. 19 that the military had proposed mobilizing 450,000-500,000 more Ukrainians, but that it was a “highly sensitive” issue that the military and government would discuss before deciding whether to send the proposal to parliament.
Zelenskyy, who has yet to back the proposal publicly, said on Dec. 19 that he wanted to hear more arguments for mobilizing additional people. “This is a very serious number,” he said.