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Ukraine conflict: Russian landing ship reportedly destroyed in Berdyansk explosion

The Russian Black Sea Fleet's Alligator-class large landing ship Orsk . The Ukrainian Navy claims to have destroyed the ship while it was near the port of Russian-occupied Berdyanskof on 24 March, although this remains to be confirmed. (Cem Devrim Yaylali)

The Ukrainian Navy claims that it has destroyed one of Russia's large landing ships near the port city of Berdyansk in the Sea of Azov.

In a 24 March post on its official Facebook social media page, the Ukrainian Navy said it had destroyed the Black Sea Fleet's Alligator (Project 1171)-class landing ship tank (LST) Orsk (148). The post was accompanied by a video and photos of the port of Berdyansk engulfed in smoke and flames. Berdyansk has been under Russian control since 27 February.

The identity of the ship has yet to be independently verified; however, subsequent images posted on social media show what appears to be an Alligator-class LST near the fire and two Ropucha (Project 775)-class landing ships sailing away from the blaze.

The incident comes days after a propaganda video of Orsk offloading BTR-82A armoured personnel carriers in Berdyansk was posted on Twitter by Russia's state-affiliated media channel RT on 21 March.

The Russian Navy operates four Soviet-era Alligator-class LSTs – three of which are based with the Black Sea Fleet. Orsk has been in service since 1968. The LSTs have a full load displacement of around 4,946 tonnes and an overall length of 113 m. They can carry around 300 troops (in addition to a crew complement of 100), 20 tanks, and 40 armoured fighting vehicles.

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