Ukraine says it damaged Russian ship, seeks evacuation of wounded fighters

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KYIV: Ukraine said it had damaged a Russian navy logistics ship near Snake Island, a small but strategic outpost in Black Sea, while relatives of Ukrainian soldiers holed up in Mariupol’s besieged steelworks pleaded for them to be saved.

Renewed fighting around Snake Island in recent days may become a battle for control of western Black Sea coast, according to some defence officials, as Russian forces struggle to make headway in Ukraine’s north and east.

“Thanks to actions of our naval seamen, support vessel Vsevolod Bobrov caught fire it is one of newest in Russian fleet,” said Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesman for Odesa regional military administration.

Images also showed recent damage to buildings on island, which became famous for foul-mouthed defiance of its Ukrainian defenders early in invasion.

Russia faced further setbacks on battlefield as Ukraine drove its troops out of region around second largest city Kharkiv, fastest advance since forcing Kremlin’s forces from Kyiv and northeast over a month ago.

In capital Kyiv, wives and relatives of Ukrainian fighters holed up in Azovstal steel plant in southern port of Mariupol marched and chanted for their rescue. –Agencies