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Two Russian civilian cargo ships hit by Ukrainian missile strike in sea of Azov

The escalation takes place amid continuing attacks by the Ukrainian military on the positions of the DPR and LPR and following the start of a Russian special operation aimed at protecting the Donbass republics.

Two civilian ships sailing under the Russian flag were hit by Ukrainian missile strikes in the Sea of Azov, the Russian border service in the Kuban region has stated.

“At 11am [8am GMT] on 24 February, 2022, Russian civilian cargo ships SGV-FLOT and SERAPHIM SAROVSKIY were subjected to a missile attack by the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the waters of the Sea of ​​Azov. The missiles were fired from Mariupol”, the border service reported.

The missile attack damaged the cargo ship SGV-FLOT igniting fires on board. One member of its crew sustained serious injuries, the border service reported. The fires were put out by the crew, both vessels are continuing their journey, the service said.

The Russian border service also sent cutters to evacuate the injured sailor.
The Russian Federal Agency of Sea and River Transport earlier announced that all civilian vessel movements in the Sea of Azov were suspended starting on 24 February until further notice. The agency noted that sailing in the Kerch Strait separating the Russian mainland from Crimea continues.
The incident takes place amid attacks by the Ukrainian military on the positions of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) that have been going on for over a week now. Responding to the Donbass republics’ request, Russian President Vladimir Putin early in the morning on 24 February announced the start of a special operation by the Russian armed forces to protect the DPR and LPR, as well as to “demilitarise and denazify” Ukraine.
The leaders of NATO member states condemned the launch of the operation, accusing Moscow of “invading” Ukraine and vowing to slap it with harsh sanctions. The West has already implemented new sanctions against Russia following its decision to recognise the DPR and LPR as independent nations on 21 February.

Source: Sputnik