VLADIMIR Putin's new flagship is on fire after being hit by a missile off the coast of Snake Island, Ukrainian officials have claimed.
The 409ft Admiral Makarov is said to have been struck by the same Neptune missiles that sunk the Russian missile cruiser Moskva in the Black Sea last month.
Putin's Black Sea Fleet was already down to just three major warships after the sinking of Moskva on April 14.
The new missile-frigate Admiral Makarov is thought to be a valuable target for Ukrainian missile crews as one of the most modern vessels in the Russian Navy.
Anton Gerashchenko, Ukrainian government advisor and former minister, said on Twitter: "Russian ship is on fire. It seems to be one of the newer Russian ones, Admiral Makarov."
Naval tracking sites claimed a Russian rescue boat was dispatched to the last known location of the ship – with unconfirmed local media reports suggesting the vessel is on fire.
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Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko claimed the warship was burning – but had not sunk.
He said on Telegram: "The frigate Admiral Makarov, the Russian Navy’s patrol frigate, is on fire.
"Yes, yes, you got that right! The God of the Seas is taking revenge on Ukraine’s abusers."
In its daily report on Russian losses, Ukraine's defence ministry said another ship had been wiped out – although it's unclear whether it is referring to Admiral Makarov.
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Flight trackers show a number of aircraft – including a US Air Force drone – circling over the area of the Black Sea.
Vladimir Putin's spokesman said the Kremlin was unaware of the alleged missile attack on the Russian frigate.
"No, we do not have such information, " Dmitry Peskov said, according to Russian state-owned news agency TASS.
It comes just weeks after the Russian vessel Moskva sank in the Black Sea following a fire and an explosion.
Moscow lost the 12,490 ton missile cruiser after it was hit by a pair of Neptune cruise missiles fired by Ukraine.
Moskva played a deadly role in the war by bombarding towns and cities in Ukraine from positions at sea.
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Ukraine is said to have harassed the 611ft vessel with a drone as a distraction before striking the with two cruise missiles.
The Russian ministry of defence said explosions ripped through the ammunition stores triggering a major blaze.
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