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Ukrainian Envoy Says Russian Helicopter Fired On Navy Vessel In Black Sea In 2018

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A ballistics test has found that a Russian combat helicopter allegedly fired an armor-piercing projectile at one of the three Ukrainian Navy vessels in the Black Sea in 2018 that Russia impounded, said Ukraine's deputy envoy to international organizations in Vienna, Ihor Lossovskiy.

Speaking at a forum on security held by the Organization for Security and Cooperation Europe (OSCE), the Ukrainian diplomat said that the "shell hole on the armored cutter Berdyansk arose as a result of a direct hit by an armored-piercing projectile fired from a Russian Ka-52 helicopter," Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform reported on February 13.

Lossovskiy didn't specify which of the two versions of the Ka-52 helicopter allegedly attacked the vessel.

Russia's military uses the Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopter, designed for ground assault, and has a newer amphibious version called the Ka-52 Katran that can be deployed on ships.

Both aircraft are equipped with armor-piercing rounds and capable of launching air-to-surface missiles.

Lossovskiy said the findings "clearly confirm the aggressive and illegal nature of the actions taken by Russia in the Black Sea in November 2018."

At the time of the incident, Russia insisted the Ukrainian Navy vessels were violating its territorial waters and refused to obey instructions.

Ukraine called the attack and subsequent capture of 24 crewmen aboard the ships a violation of international maritime law.

On May 25, the UN's maritime tribunal ordered Russia to immediately release the crewmen and impounded boats, a ruling that Moscow ignored.

The Ukrainian crewmen were released on September 7 and Russia returned the three severely damaged ships on November 19 in very poor condition.

Based on reporting by Ukrinform