Ukraine says it destroys Russian missile ship in Crimea strike

(Reuters) - The Ukrainian military said on Tuesday it destroyed the last Russian warship armed with cruise missiles that was stationed on the Moscow-occupied peninsula of Crimea during an operation over the weekend.

Ukraine's military reported conducting a long-range attack that destroyed a Russian minesweeping navy vessel on Sunday and said it needed more time to confirm what else had been damaged.

"According to updated information, the Ukrainian defence forces hit a Russian project 22800 Tsiklon missile ship in Sevastopol, on the night of May 19," the General Staff said on Tuesday.

The Ukrainian Navy later said in a statement on X that the vessel had been "destroyed".

Reuters was not able to independently verify the statements. There was no immediate comment from the Russian side.

The Russian defence ministry said on Sunday that its forces had shot down nine U.S. ATACMS missiles over Crimea. Russian-installed governor Mikhail Razvozhayev said no one was injured in the attack but that some residential buildings had been damaged.

Ukrainian Navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk said the Tsiklon was Russia's "last cruise missile carrier" based on the peninsula, which Moscow seized and occupied in 2014.

According to the Russian defence ministry, it was built in a Kerch shipyard and started combat duty last June.

Tsiklon never fired a cruise missile while on active service, Pletenchuk said in televised comments.

With no powerful naval fleet of its own, Ukraine has carried out missile and naval drone attacks on Russia's Black Sea Fleet during the 27-month-old full-scale war.

Ukraine's Navy has said the strikes have prompted Russia to rebase most of its Black Sea Fleet away from the Crimean peninsula.

Pletenchuk said that of five warships from Russia's project 22800, two had been destroyed, two had been returned to the Caspian Sea and one was currently at a shipyard.

Kyiv officials say the attacks allowed Ukraine to seize the initiative in the Black Sea and undermine Moscow's capability to carry out missile strikes on Ukrainian territory from the sea.

(Reporting by Yuliia Dysa, additional reporting Anastasia Malenko; editing by Mark Heinrich, William Maclean)