The Russian-controlled port of Berdyansk in southern Ukraine is burning. Videos shared on social media Thursday morning showed the port on the Sea of Azov, about 50 miles southwest of besieged Mariupol, where several Russian warships were docked, in flames as the Ukrainian Navy claimed to have sunk a Russian tank-landing ship, dubbed the Orsk. A warehouse holding fuel and ammunition was also destroyed, according to media reports cited by the Washington Examiner, which indicate two other ships are "smoking heavily and trying to escape."
A Ukrainian military officer said damaged ships dubbed the Kunikov and Novocherkassk did escape. But he noted another large landing ship, the Saratov, was also damaged by fire. On Wednesday, Russian state-funded media had shared footage of the Orsk bringing tanks and other equipment into Berdyansk, which has been in Russian hands since Feb. 27, per the Examiner. "Our arrival here is a milestone event," an unnamed Russian military official told RT. "It opens up completely new opportunities for the Black Sea Fleet to use existing Ukrainian infrastructure for our logistics operations."
The Ukrainian officer said three people were killed in the assault and 11 were injured. "The [Russian] occupiers are burning well!" reads the caption on a video showing a large explosion at the site, shared by the Ukrainian armed forces. One video cited by the Scotsman appeared to show a missile striking a boat. Earlier this week, Ukrainian officials claimed Russian tug boats had stolen five ships stocked with grain from the port. Also Thursday, a Ukrainian flag was hoisted at city hall in Russian-occupied Kherson, according to photos shared by Mayor Ihor Kolykhaiev. "We found a way to replace it," he wrote, per CNN. "Have a nice day, my Hero City." (Read more Ukraine stories.)