Ukraine's military said on Friday its operations had resulted in the destruction of a total of 15 Russian naval vessels in the Black Sea since the start of Russia's invasion and that 12 other vessels had been damaged.
Ukraine has stepped up its attacks in the Black Sea and on Crimea, which Russia seized and annexed in 2014. Kyiv has reported a series of strikes on warships on and near Crimea this autumn, including a large landing vessel and a submarine.
"You can count the ones that have already been disabled. These are 15 destroyed and 12 damaged ships. Not all of this is the result of drone work, but they also have quite a lot of damaged ships to their credit," navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk said in televised comments.
He described Ukraine as "the driver of a new type of naval warfare" that had made Russia move its naval forces to positions more difficult to reach for what Kyiv has in its capacity.
Russia is also suffering logistical problems, he said, due to having to relocate vessels to Novorossiysk and periodically to Tuapse, both ports on the eastern flank of the Black Sea to the southeast of Crimea and further from Ukraine.
Reuters could not independently verify the reports. Russia usually does not acknowledge damage to its military assets and says it repels most Ukrainian attacks.
Ukraine's military said its operations carried out in the Black Sea so far have included strikes on the Russian Black Sea Navy headquarters in Sevastopol and the shipyard in Kerch, which damaged a vessel that had not yet joined the fleet.
In April 2022, shortly after the start of the war, Ukraine's forces said it hit the Moskva missile cruiser, flagship of Russia's Black Sea fleet, with domestically produced a Neptune anti-ship missile. Russia never acknowledged the attack, saying the ship sank following a major fire onboard.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy recently said Kyiv had managed to shift the balance of power in the Black Sea, seizing the initiative from Moscow which regards Crimea as strategically vital to its interests.