One of VladimirPutin's most modern spy warships narrowly avoided being blown up by a trio of marine drones in the Black Sea, shocking new footage shows.
The intense clip, released by the Russian defence ministry on state television, showed how one high-speed unmanned boat came zipping across the water's surface towards Moscow's Ivan Khurs reconnaissance ship.
The spy vessel immediately launched into evasive manoeuvres and began firing at the oncoming drones.
Initial volleys from the Russian warship missed the drone - but just as the craft crested a wave it suffered a direct hit, immediately erupting into a massive fireball just metres from its target.
The Yury Ivanov-class Russian ship, launched in 2017, was in international waters in the Black Sea some 40 nautical miles north of the Bosphorus Strait at the time of the attack.
Russian sources said Ukraine's armed forces were responsible for the attack after initial reports suggested the drones were instead launched from civilian ships.
Kyiv is yet to comment on the attack.
The attempt to strike the Ivan Khurs cameassmoke was seen pouring from the giant £3billion Russian-controlled Crimean bridge, prompting suspicions it had also suffered an attack.
A suspected Ukrainian marine surface drone is seen avoiding oncoming fire from its target moments before it is hit
The drone exploded instantly when it was hit
The boat erupted into a huge fireball after being hit on the nose by the warship's guns
The Ivan Khurs reconnaissance ship was in international waters in the Black Sea
The Yury Ivanov-class ship, launched in 2017, was some 40 nautical miles north of the Bosphorus Strait at the time of the attack
A local radio station posted footage of the Kerch bridge smoking on social media
This video circulating on social media shows the huge smoke cloud billowing from the Crimean bridge
The Kerch bridge, which links the Crimean peninsula to the Russian region of Krasnodar, was reopened on Wednesday after being closed for several hours for 'exercises', an official from Crimea's Russian-backed administration said.
'The Crimean Bridge is closed due to an exercise being held in the area,' said the Putin-appointed head of annexed Crimea Sergei Aksyonov.
'Traffic will be restored in a few hours. I'm urging everyone to trust only trusted sources of information.'
It was not clear what was meant by exercises.
Video footage posted to Telegram showed white smoke billowing from the main central span of the bridge, and more smoke rising from one of the approaches to the crossing point.
In recent days Russia banned all trucks from the bridge, with Putin's deputy premier citing 'security concerns' when announcing the decision.
On May 3, a drone strike triggered a huge explosion at an oil storage depot close to the bridge, prompting suspicions Ukrainian armed forces could attempt to conduct another strike.
The bridge was sensationally attacked last October, causing significant structural damage
This file aerial picture taken on November 08, 2022, and released by the Russian federal road agency Rosavtodor shows restoring works on damaged parts of the Kerch Bridge that links Crimea to Russia, which was hit by a blast on October 8, 2022
Smoke on the Crimean Bridge is described by Russian media as the result of 'military drills'
Car and railway traffic stopped after an October 2022 explosion at the Crimean Bridge damaged both lines
In light of the suspected attacks on Russia's spy ship and the Crimean bridge, Moscow spymaster Sergey Naryshkin blasted Britain and the US at a security conference near Moscow
The 12-mile road and rail bridge was damaged by an explosion last October, in an attack that the Kremlin said had been orchestrated by Ukrainian security forces, thoughUkraine did not claim responsibility.
Crimea was annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014, but is internationally recognised as part of Ukraine.
In light of the suspected attacks on Russia's spy ship and the Crimean bridge, Moscow spymaster Sergey Naryshkin blasted Britain and the US at a security conference near Moscow.
Part of the Kremlin's narrative surrounding the war in Ukraine is that Kyiv's forces are mere puppets being controlled by their Western masters.
'The Anglo-Saxons should be advised to deal with their own internal civil conflicts,' the head of Putin's SVR foreign intelligence agency said.
'Or even better go to their long-term friend, the devil.'
In February, a Russian drone boat packed with explosives smashed into a key Ukrainian bridge connecting the country to Moldova.
In a dramatic video trhe unmanned object is seen in the water approaching at-speed in the dark. A huge explosion then suddenly erupts.
Some reports say it was an underwater drone, while others believe the footage visibility shows it to be a USV - an Uncrewed Surface Vessel.
The bridge has previously been attacked by the Russians but without destroying it
Some reports say it was an underwater drone, while others believe the footage visibility shows it to be a USV - an Uncrewed Surface Vessel
Russia is not known to have such drones but it is understood their creation was proposed at a meeting with Vladimir Putin last year. Pictured:Mystery Ukrainian Drone Boat Washes Up Near Home Of Russia's Black Sea Fleet last year
It is the first time Russia has used this type of attack in the war, analysts say
The unmanned object is seen in the water approaching at-speed in the dark. A huge explosion then suddenly erupts
Russia has previously attacked the road-rail Zatoka Bridge across the Dniester estuary in the Odessa region, a strategic link between Ukraine and its troubled neighbour Moldova, where the pro-EU government fell a day before the attack.
It is the first time Russia has used this type of attack in the war, analysts say.
The bridge has previously been attacked by the Russians but without destroying it.
It was used to deliver supplies to Ukraine's southern armed forces through Romania, Bulgaria, and Moldova.
Russia is not known to have such drones but it is understood the governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhaev, proposed creating them at a meeting with Vladimir Putin in November last year.
He said enterprises in the city, in annexed Crimea, had the capability to design and manufacture such drones.
Ukraine has been previously successful in attacking a Russian warship as the managed to shoot Russia's flaship Moskva, which then caught fire and sank in April.
Pictures that emerged after the ship sank seem to have been taken from a rescue vessel alongside the stricken Russian warship, show damage its left side along with flames burning below deck and a thick pall of black smoke rising into the sky.
Moskva is shown sitting low in the water, leaning to the port side, and appears to have deployed its lifeboats with no crew visible on board.Its rear helicopter door is also open, suggesting the aircraft has taken off. There also seems to be a firefighting ship behind the vessel which is spraying jets of water into the air.
Images have emerged which appear to show the Russian warship Moskva heavily damaged and on fire in the Black Sea shortly before it sank last week
The images show what appears to be damage to the left-hand side of the vessel close to the water line, smoke and fire damage along its left-hand side, missing lifeboats and open helicopter bay doors - suggesting the aircraft has taken off. A rescue ship also appears to be behind the stricken ship, spraying water jets
Moskva (pictured last leaving port on April 10) got into trouble on April 14 while sailing around 60 miles off the coast of Odesa - Ukraine's largest port - before Moscow confirmed she had sunk on April 15
Multiple black marks scar the port-side of the ship, including several near deck-level where smoke appears to have streamed out of portholes and left marks on the paint.
But there are also dark marks close to the waterline that don't match the position of portholes and suggest the ship has sustained external damage.
The images are largely consistent with Ukrainian descriptions of the sinking - that the Moskva was hit by two missiles on its port side which sparked a fire and caused it to roll - and contradict Russia's account which was that the ship suffered a fire and internal explosion in rough seas.
Video has also since emerged which appears to show two rescue vessels approaching the burning ship - one to the left side and one to the right - in which a Russian voice can be heard speaking. One man says 'what the f*** are you doing?' before the short clip ends.
Analysts and experts who reviewed the images say they do appear genuine. It is unlikely that Russia will confirm the authenticity of the pictures, amid a near-total information blackout around the sinking which is a huge embarrassment to Vladimir Putin's beleaguered armed forces.
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