Russian spy ship sinks after Black Sea collision

April 27 (UPI) — A Russian spy ship sank in the Black Sea Thursday after it struck a merchant freighter, the Turkish Coast Guard reported.

The surveillance vessel Liman collided with a Togo-registered Youzasif H, a freighter carrying livestock, 18 nautical miles from the coast of the Black Sea and northwest of the Bosphurus Strait’s entrance into the sea, near the city of Istanbul. Russia’s Black Sea Fleet frequently passes through the strait as they head for the Mediterranean Sea, but it was unclear if the spy ship was heading into or from the Black Sea.

All 78 people aboard the Russian ship were rescued, the Turkish Coast Guard said, adding that the freighter sustained minimal damage. Fog was reported in the area at the time of the collision.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the Liman sustained a large hole below its water line, the BBC reported Thursday.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Tildrim spoke with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev by telephone after the incident, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reported.

The Liman was briefly famous in 1999, when it was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea to monitor NATO operations in Yugoslavia.

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