Ukraine has hit back following a series of Russian drone attacks on Ukrainian ports, and on the heels of last month’s collapse of the UN-backed grain deal, and just as US Secretary of State Blinken has accused Moscow of “using food as a weapon of war”. 

Ukraine says its Friday military operation has severely damaged a Russian naval ship – the Olenogorsky Gornyak – off the port of Novorossiysk, a major hub for Russian exports. Video and images appear to show the vessel is listing in the aftermath. Importantly, the port is among the largest in the Black Sea basin and is significantly far from Ukrainian shores, on the clear other side of the Crimean peninsula.

Earlier claims of the Russian defense ministry said the attack off its port was repelled, but videos emerging in the aftermath show the warship being towed near the Novorossiysk naval base.

A Ukrainian official has told multiple media outlets, including CNN and BBC, that a sea drone equipped with 450 kilograms of TNT had detonated at the hull and damaged the ship, which had about 100 Russian servicemen aboard when it happened. 

Via Sky News

“A big navy ship Olenogorsky Gornyak was hit,” the Ukrainian official identified in the statements. “As the result of the attack, the Russian ship has received serious damage and is not able to fulfill its duties.”

Video of the ship listing to one side while towed back to port:




This fresh attack is likely to ensure Moscow doesn’t return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative deal, though the deal looked effectively dead regardless. Russia is likely to now ramp up its attacks on Ukrainian ports and grain silos, as the conflict continues to escalate toward “unlimited war”.