Ukrainian Air Force Strikes Russian Vessel on Dnipro Estuary

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On Monday, Ukraine’s air force carried out a strike on a Russian-occupied merchant ship that has been grounded on the Dnipro Estuary for months. The Ukrainian military claims that the vessel has been in use as a listening post by Russian forces; Russia has not confirmed the attack. 

The force of the blast appeared to send a lifeboat soaring skyward, and it tumbled back into the water off the starboard side. 

The unnamed ship is located on a spit that extends from the north side of the Crimean Peninsula, an area held by Russia since 2014. Naval analyst H.I. Sutton dates the vessel’s presence at the grounding site back to early June 2023. 

The strike is the latest in a long and growing list of Ukrainian attacks on Russian vessels, from corvettes to landing ships to the occasional submarinecruiser or tanker. According to UK intelligence, Ukrainian maritime strike capability has pushed the Russian Navy out of the western half of the Black Sea, ensuring the security of merchant traffic to and from the port of Odesa. 

Over the weekend, Russian state media reported that the commander in chief of the Russian Navy has been removed and replaced with a new commander, Adm. Aleksandr Moiseev. At the regional level, the Black Sea Fleet has had three commanders in two years. 

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