Ukraine ‘blows hole’ in Russian warship

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A Ukrainian attack on a Russian naval base blew a hole in the hull of a large warship and caused severe damage, sources have claimed.

The Olenegorsky Gornyak, a 112-metre landing vessel, reportedly suffered a “serious breach” from the drone strike and is unable to carry out combat missions.

Ukraine attacked the Novorossiysk base in southern Russia this morning. A naval drone loaded with 450 kilograms of TNT crashed into the hull of the ship, which had 100 crew members on board, according to Ukrainska Pravda.

Grainy footage from a camera mounted on the drone apparently shows it slamming into the port side of the landing ship.

Russia’s defence ministry said it had repelled the attack, while regional governor Veniamin Kondratyev claimed there had been no casualties or damage.

An unconfirmed video, published on social media, seemingly shows the Olenegorsky Gornyak listing to one side and being towed away.

Follow below for the latest updates.

01:06 PM BST

Ukraine ‘tiring’ as it holds on to eastern territory

Ukraine is enduring a “difficult and tiring struggle” in the east as Russia launches multiple offensives to claw back territory lost last year.

Deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar said: “Our troops are completely repelling enemy attacks in the Kupyansk, Lymansk and Swatisk directions… enemy shelling has increased.

“In addition, in the Kupyansk direction, the enemy set himself the goal of returning the territories lost last fall.

“This is a difficult and tiring struggle, but our defenders do not give the enemy the opportunity to implement his plans.”

12:57 PM BST

Counteroffensive faces ‘fierce resistance’ as it pushes south

Russia is “fiercely resisting” Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the south as troops attempt to push through to Melitopol and Berdyansk.

Hanna Maliar, a Ukrainian defence minister, said: “In addition to continuous mining, the enemy has equipped protected concrete engineering fortifications on key commanding heights.

“In such difficult conditions, our troops are moving forward gradually, but very persistently.”

12:44 PM BST

Watch: Russian defence minister inspects captured tank ‘trophy’

12:35 PM BST

Ukraine ‘hitting Russia hard’ with cluster bombs

Ukraine is intensifying cluster munition strikes as it seeks to regain ground in eastern Ukraine, a Russian soldier has claimed.

The individual, who uses the call sign Pedagogue, said the controversial weapons were being used near the village of Vuhledar, Donetsk.

He told Russia’s Tass news agency: “They had not used cluster munitions for long and now they are actively employing them, hitting hard.

“There have also appeared a large number of kamikaze drones and they use them everywhere.”

12:29 PM BST

Ukraine repels Russian advance in Donetsk

Russian forces are suffering “significant losses” as they attempt to seize two cities in Donetsk, Ukraine’s general staff has said.

A spokesman for the armed forces said troops had repelled Russian attacks south of Bakhmut at Avdiivka and Marinka.

He continued: “The enemy conducted unsuccessful offensive actions in the northern and central parts of Marinka… [and] north and southeast of Avdiivka.

“The enemy is suffering significant losses in personnel, weapons and equipment.”

12:16 PM BST

Watch: British Army trains Ukrainians to use Challenger 2 tanks

12:11 PM BST

‘We need US cooperation to bring back grain deal’, says Russia

Russia has said it needs action, not words, from the US to revive the Black Sea export deal it withdrew from last month.

Moscow declined to renew the agreement, which guaranteed safe passage for Ukrainian grain, claiming not enough had been done to remove obstacles to its own food and fertiliser exports.

A Kremlin spokesman said: “If they want to contribute to fulfilling the part of the grain deal that is due to Russia, the Americans must fulfil it, not promise that they will think about it.

“As soon as this is done, this deal will immediately be renewed.”

12:02 PM BST

Zelensky adviser: Drones ‘destroying’ Black Sea Fleet

Drones can put an end to Russia’s domination of the Black Sea and restore international law, an adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky has said.

It comes after a suspected Ukrainian attack on the Russian naval base of Novorossiysk caused “serious” damage to a Soviet-era warship.

Mykhailo Podolyak said: “Drones are changing the rules of the game, returning the waters to full-fledged foreign jurisdiction, and ultimately destroying the value of the Russian fleet. In fact, they are returning everyone to the international law of the sea.

“The presence of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea, and with it – Moscow’s traditional blackmail will be put to an end.”

11:47 AM BST

Kyiv official detained after death of Zelensky ally

A Ukrainian official has been detained for two months following the death of a key ally of Volodymyr Zelensky, according to state media.

Interior minister Denys Monastyrskyy was among the 14 people killed when his helicopter crashed near a nursery in January.

Ivan Korobka, head of Kyiv’s aviation department, was found guilty of negligence and violating safety rules after allowing the flight to go ahead, Suspilne reports.

The helicopter was apparently “not designed for such flights” and should not have been flown in poor weather conditions.

11:32 AM BST

Russia ‘planning to bring Belarus into Ukraine war’

Russia is planning a “false flag” attack at an oil refinery in Belarus to draw its ally into the war against Ukraine, according to reports.

The SBU, Ukraine’s security service, claimed the Russia had sent army and intelligence personnel into Belarus undercover as members of the Wagner group for the mission.

They apparently plan to attack the Mozyr Oil Refinery disguised as Ukrainian saboteurs, drawing Minsk into a “full-scale war”.

The SBU said the intelligence was based on information from several sources, including a captured Russian serviceman.

11:12 AM BST

Russia ‘spending a third of budget on defence’ as war drags on

Russia has doubled its yearly defence spending to more than $100bn (£79bn) as the war in Ukraine puts a growing strain on its finances.

In the first half of 2023, Russia spent 600 billion roubles more than the 4.98 trillion roubles it had originally targeted for the whole year.

Defence spending in the first six months of 2023 amounted to 5.59 trillion roubles, a third of all public expenditure.

11:01 AM BST

Watch: Naval drone smashes into Russian ship

10:53 AM BST

West not giving Ukraine the tools to repair tanks, claims Russia

Ukraine is unable to repair its Western armoured vehicles because they have not been provided with the proper equipment, Russia’s defence minister has been told.

Sergie Shoigu heard the account from a Russian soldier as he inspected a Swedish tank on the front line, apparently seized after being hit by a shot from a grenade launcher.

The defence ministry said in a statement: “During the inspection of trophy equipment, Lieutenant General Andrei Mordvichev drew the attention… to the lack of spare parts, tools and accessories in the armoured vehicles.

“[This] makes it impossible to carry out operational repairs in the areas of combat operations.”

10:38 AM BST

Pictured: The Soviet-era landing ship damaged by drone attack

Russia's Olenegorsky Gornyak appears to be listing to port after an alleged Ukrainian attack

Russia’s Olenegorsky Gornyak appears to be listing to port after an alleged Ukrainian attack

A sea drone shows the silhouette of Olenegorsky Gornyak ship near the port of Novorossiysk, Russia

A sea drone shows the silhouette of Olenegorsky Gornyak ship near the port of Novorossiysk, Russia – VIDEO OBTAINED BY REUTERS

10:30 AM BST

Sochi amps up security after Novorossiysk drone strike

The Russian port of Sochi is fortifying its security after an alleged Ukrainian attack on Novorossiysk damaged a large warship.

Alexey Kopaygorodskiy, the city’s mayor said: “During the operational meeting with the heads of law enforcement agencies, they discussed a set of additional measures to increase the level of security.

“The interdepartmental working group is improving protection measures, taking into account the experience of other Black Sea port cities. Strengthening the security perimeter of the seaport.”

It follows repeated Russian airstrikes on Ukrainian Black Sea ports, such as Odesa and Mykolaiv. Officials accuse Moscow of targeting grain terminals.

10:22 AM BST

EU bans drones sales to Belarus in attempt to starve Russian war machine

The European Union on Thursday banned the sale of drones to Belarus in an attempt to starve the Russian war machine of equipment, Joe Barnes writes.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s top foreign diplomat, said the measures were taken against “the Belarusian regime as an accomplice in Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine”.

Additional measures will also block the sale of aircraft engines, semiconductors, camera equipment and firearms that could find their way to Russia via Minsk, the capital of Belarus.

Read the full story here.

10:07 AM BST

Ukraine strikes Black Sea naval base

Ukraine attacked a Russian naval base in Novorossiysk with two maritime drones last night, the Kremlin has said.

Russia’s defence ministry reported: “The unmanned boats were detected and destroyed by fire from the standard weapons of Russian ships guarding the outer harbour of the naval base.”

The strike did not cause any damage or casualties, according to Veniamin Kondratyev, governor of South Russia’s Krasnodar region. However, sources suggested a Russian warship suffered “serious” damage.

Social media users heard explosions and gunfire near Novorossiysk this morning. If confirmed it would be the first Ukrainian attack on one of Russia’s main commercial ports.

09:57 AM BST

Russia ‘inventing its own reality’ after claiming it repelled drones

Russia’s military leadership has been accused of creating their “own reality” instead of tackling the threat posed by Ukrainian drones.

Military Informant, a Russian Telegram channel with more than half a million subscribers, appeared to hit out at the defence ministry after it claimed the strike had been repelled. Videos published on social media contradict the official account.

It said: “If, after several attacks on ships and the base in Sevastopol, they finally began to take actions to prevent future attacks, then in neighbouring Novorossiysk… they didn’t even really try.

“It is always easier to not to deal with real things, but to invent your own reality, despite the fact that there are videos from unamnned enemy boats and footage of local residents from the shore.”

09:45 AM BST

Source: Russian ship towed away after airstrike

A Russian navy vessel was left unable to move following a Ukrainian drone strike and had to be towed ashore, it has been claimed.

The source did not name the vessel, but other reports indicated the Olenegorsky Gornyak landing ship had been seriously damaged in the attack.

09:33 AM BST

Two civilians dead in Donetsk

Two residents have died at the hands of Russian forces in Donetsk, the regional governor has said, as he warned that “Russia kills civilians”.

Pavlo Kyrylenko wrote on Telegram: “On 3 Augustm the Russians killed two residents of Donetsk region: in Kurakhivka and Krasnohorivka.

“Two more people in the region were injured during the day.”

09:17 AM BST

Drone strike ‘took Russian landing ship unawares’

A Ukrainian drone that seriously damaged a Russian warship likely took the crew by surprise, it has been claimed.

Rybar, a prominent Russian military blog, said the naval drone hit the port side of the Olenegorsky Gornyak, which was partially flooded but remained afloat.

It continued: “It is curious that the drone approached the [landing ship] unhindered.

“The crew probably did not expect the attack, as a result of which they did not take measures to destroy the drone.”

09:09 AM BST

Kherson ‘in mourning’ after doctor’s death

Kherson is said to be “mourning” the death of a 25-year-old doctor apparently killed on his first day at work.

Dmytro Bily was killed in the Yevhen Karabelesh City Hospital on 1 August during a Russian attack. Five other medical staff were said to have been injured in the airstrike.

Olexander Produkin, the regional governor, said: “Today, like dozens of Kherson residents, I came to see off Dmytro Bily on his last journey.

“Under the wail of sirens, the memory of a brave young doctor who died on his first working day in the hospital was honoured.”

08:41 AM BST

Ukraine ‘seriously damaged Russian warship’

An attack on a Russian naval base of Novorossiysk damaged a large warship, according to Ukrainian intelligence.

A source said: “The Olenegorsky Gornyak received a serious breach and currently cannot conduct its combat missions.”

A video posted on social media apparently shows the ship sagging to one side and being towed away. This has not been confirmed.

08:34 AM BST

‘We’re not trying to cause food crisis’, claims Russia

Claims that Russia is attempting to use “food as a weapon” after it repeatedly destroyed grain silos have been dismissed as propaganda by its ambassador to the US.

Anatoly Antonov said: “Attempts to accuse Russia of provoking a food crisis and using ‘food as a weapon’ are a well-known element of the information war unleashed against our country.

“It is the Russian Federation that makes a significant contribution into global food security, [and] is a solid and reliable supplier of agricultural products.”

Moscow has systematically targeted grain terminals in Ukrainian ports since the end of the Black Sea export deal, according to officials. An Wednesday attack on Izmail damaged almost 40,000 tons of grain.

08:10 AM BST

‘Russia wants to stop Ukraine’s international trade’

The MoD added that Russia is likely attempting to “coerce international shipping” into stopping trade with Ukraine.

It follows a number of strikes on Ukrainian ports, on both the Black Sea and Danube River. Kyiv officials believe it wants to end exports of grain and provoke a global food crisis.

The MoD said: “In the last two weeks, Russia has conducted several waves of strikes against Ukrainian ports on the Dabune River using Iranian-produced [drones].

“It is highly likely attempting to coerce international shipping into stopping trading via the ports.”

07:51 AM BST

MoD: Russia ‘has greater appetite’ for strikes near Nato members

Russia is willing to take greater risks with strikes near Nato territory, the Ministry of Defence has said, following an attack on Ukrainian port near Romania.

However, it added that the strike had been conducted with drones instead of missiles, possible because they are “less likely to risk escalation” and are “acceptable accurate”.

A drone strike last week on Reni, a Ukrainian port on the Danube River, took place 200 metres from the border with Romania.

07:47 AM BST

Pictured: First glimpses of clash at Russian naval base

Ukrainian Armed Forces allegedly tried to attack the Novorossiysk naval base at night with two marine drones

Ukrainian Armed Forces allegedly tried to attack the Novorossiysk naval base at night with two marine drones

07:46 AM BST

Shoigu hails ‘Russian successes’ as he visits Ukraine front line

Russia’s defence minister has travelled to Ukraine to thank troops for their “successful offensive operations”, according to reports.

Sergei Shoigu visited the frontline headquarters of the “Centre” army group, with television images showing him climbing into a captured Swedish tank.

He last visited the front at the end of June, following a failed mutiny by Wagner mercenaries that demanded his arrest.

Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia’s general staff, was reported to have visited the front line earlier this week, but unlike Mr Shoigu did not appear to go outside.

07:37 AM BST

13 Ukrainian drones ‘brought down in Crimea’

More than a dozen drones have been brought down over Russian-annexed Crimea, according to the Kremlin.

The Russian defence ministry said: “An attempt by the Kyiv regime to carry out a terrorist attack by aircraft-type unmanned aerial vehicles in the Crieman peninsula was foiled last night.

“Ten UAVs [droes] were destroyed by air defence facilities on duty. Three more enemy drones were suppressed by means of electronic warfare.

“There were no casualties or damage as a result of the foiled terrorist attack.”

07:34 AM BST

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