VLADIMIR Putin’s new flagship is on fire after being hit by a missile off Snake Island, Ukrainian officials have claimed.
The 409ft Admiral Makarov was reportedly hit by the same Neptune missiles that sank the Russian guided missile cruiser Moskva in the Black Sea last month.
Video footage circulating on social media shows plumes of black smoke rising into the sky from what appears to be Makarov.
Putin’s Black Sea Fleet was already down to just three major warships after the sinking of the Moskva on April 14.
The new Admiral Makarov missile frigate is considered a valuable target for Ukrainian missile crews as one of the most modern ships in the Russian Navy.
Anton Gerashchenko, Ukrainian government adviser and former minister, said on Twitter: “The Russian ship is on fire. It seems to be one of the newest, Admiral Makarov.”
Naval tracking sites claimed a Russian rescue boat had been dispatched to the ship’s last known location – with unconfirmed local media reports suggesting the ship was on fire.
Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko claimed the warship was burning – but did not sink.
He said on Telegram: “The frigate Admiral Makarov, the patrol frigate of the Russian Navy, is on fire.
“Yes, yes, you understood correctly! The God of the seas takes revenge on the aggressors of Ukraine.”
In its daily report on Russian casualties, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said another ship had been wrecked – although it’s unclear whether he’s referring to Admiral Makarov.
According to the Ukrainian government website Dumskaya, a Burevestnik-class frigate was located at noon near Snake Island.
The site said Russian planes were surrounding the warship and rescue ships were being dispatched from Crimea.
Flight trackers show a number of planes – including a US Air Force drone – flying over the Black Sea region.
Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said the Kremlin was unaware of the alleged missile attack on the Russian frigate.
“No, we don’t have such information,” Dmitry Peskov said, according to Russian news agency TASS.
It comes just weeks after the Russian ship Moskva sank in the Black Sea following a fire and explosion.
Moscow lost the 12,490-ton guided-missile cruiser after being hit by a pair of Ukrainian-fired Neptune cruise missiles.
Moskva played a murderous role in the war by bombarding Ukrainian cities from positions at sea.
And American spies helped sink the ship by revealing that the ship’s radar had failed.
Ukraine reportedly harassed the 611ft vessel with a drone as a distraction before hitting it with two cruise missiles.
The Russian Defense Ministry said explosions destroyed ammunition stores, causing a major fire.
The ship had gained legendary status among Ukraine’s defenders after a gang of over-armed border guards said, “Russian warship, fuck you!” when he ordered them to surrender.
The Moskva is the largest ship lost in action since Britain sank the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano in 1982 during the Falklands War.