The Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine claimed they destroyed a Russian naval ship in Berdyansk (Pictures: AFP/Reuters)
Ukraine claims to have sunk a Russian landing ship in the sea of Azov, docked in the occupied port city of Berdyansk.
Footage emerged on social media early on Thursday showing plumes of black smoke billowing from the destroyed 370 foot tall vessel.
Details around the explosion are still unclear but the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said the Orsk had been hit by its forces.
Russian state TV hailed its arrival in Berdyansk last week as an ‘epic event’ and it is believed the warship had been used to deliver armoured vehicles to the invaders.
Ukrainian officials said that it had weapons and ammunition to continue the siege of Mariupol, located some 50 miles from the explosion.
Eastern Europe expert Sergej Sumlenny wrote on Twitter that it was one of 10 Russian landing vessels.
He added: ‘Alligator class (project 1171) Orsk’ was built in 1968. It took part in Russian invasion in Georgia, Crimea and Syria.
Ukrainian officials released photos and a video on Facebook of fire and thick smoke coming from the port area in Berdyansk (Picture: Twiter @Mike_Eckel)
Berdyansk has been in Russian control since February 27 (Picture: Twitter @motyrchak)
‘Two Ropucha class (Project 775) landing vessels, which are more modern than Alligator class, were seen leaving the explosion area, allegedly damaged.’
Ukraine’s deputy defence minister Hanna Malyar told Ukrainian TV that armed forces had hit a ‘huge target’ able to carry 20 tanks, 45 armoured vehicles and 400 soldiers.
The small Ukrainian victory over the vessel comes as world leaders met in Brussels today for an emergency meeting on Russia’s war.
Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of NATO, said the summit is a ‘pivotal moment for our security’.
He added: ‘Ukraine has the right to self-defence under the UN Charter. And we are helping Ukrainians to uphold this fundamental right.’
Mr Stoltenberg revealed ‘there are now hundreds of thousands of Allied troops at heightened readiness across the Alliance’ including ‘100,000 US troops in Europe’.
Earlier today, the Pentagon also confirmed Ukrainian claims that its forces have successfully pushed back the invador some 20 miles from Kyiv and reclaimed territory.
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