Donetsk, Apr 7 - DAN. “Azov” gunmen have set the Ukrainian Navy search and rescue vessel “Donbass” on fire in the Mariupol port in yet another arson attack, the Donetsk People’s Republic People’s Militia reported on Thursday.

 “After the torching of the Turkish vessel “Azburg” which sailed under the flag of Dominica, Ukrainian gunmen carried out another provocation,” the DPR militia said. “Craftsmen from 83rd Information and Psychological Operations Centre and “Azov” nationalists torched the “Donbass” headquarter vessel.”

 The Ukrainian Navy search and rescue vessel “Donbass” has been in the Mariupol sea trade port since February 2022.  It used to be a repair ship in the Soviet era. It fell into Ukraine’s share during the division of the Black Sea Fleet, and quickly became rundown. After repairs, it was converted to “command ship,” and later on to search and rescue vessel.

 It is noteworthy that on March 20, 2014, the vessel hoisted the Russian flag during the “Russian Spring” in Donbass, but after Ukrainian gunmen seized Mariupol, the vessel was “returned” to Ukraine.

 “According to the available information, Ukrainian nationalists continue to purposefully destroy vessels in the Mariupol port. At the present time, both ships are on fire and in smoke. In the near future, Ukrainian and foreign mass media might disseminate videos with killed crews to discredit the Russian military,” the DPR militia said.*jk