Ukraine Overnight Sea Drone Attack Sinks Another Russian Ship In Black Sea

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Mar 05, 2024 - 07:30 PM

Ukraine is claiming another major successful operation in the Black Sea, with its military intelligence agency announcing that the large Russian patrol ship Sergey Kotov was sunk overnight after it was hit by high-tech sea drones.

While Russia has not confirmed the claim, Ukraine's military said "a special operations unit destroyed the large patrol ship Sergey Kotov overnight with Magura V5 uncrewed vessels that are designed and built in Ukraine and laden with explosives." 

Sergey Kotov patrol ship

The attack allegedly happened near the Kerch Strait, and would be a significant operational 'win' given the Sergey Kotov can carry cruise missiles and some 60 crew members.

Ukraine subsequently published video appearing to show the nighttime attack which left the ship severely damaged. The ship may have also had a helicopter on board at the time. "Right now this ship is on the seabed," Ukrainian Navy spokesman Dmytro Pletenchuk said.

The BBC has concluded that the video looks authentic:

Ukraine said the cost of the sunken Sergei Kotov ship was $65m (£51.2m), adding that it was hit near the Kerch Strait, which separates Crimea from Russia.

A video posted on social media appears to show the moment when the ship was hit. BBC Verify has looked at the video, released by Ukraine, said to be of the attack.

The vessel has similar structural features to a patrol ship of the same class as the Sergei Kotov. However, no number is visible on its side, so the footage does not make clear if it is the same ship.

The private security firm Ambrey has also said the attack happened at the port of Feodosia in Crimea. Typically the Kremlin doesn't confirm such covert attacks or sinkings of its ships, but Russian military bloggers have acknowledged the incident.

Despite Ukraine forces being currently in retreat outside of Avdiivka, and suffering serious manpower and artillery shortages, they had some recent successes in attacks on Russia's Black Sea naval fleet. Drone attacks on Crimea have also ramped up in the past days.

Moscow believes these attacks utilizing both aerial and sea drones are assisted by Western intelligence, and the weapons themselves could be sourced to external backers as well, hence the Ukraine military's emphasis that these drones were domestically produced (an attempt to preempt and deny suspicions that Western weaponry was used).

"At least 13 Russian naval ships have been destroyed or damaged since the start of the conflict, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank," BBC has noted.

Just last month Ukraine said it sunk the Russian amphibious ship Caesar Kunikov utilizing drones, in an area just south of the city of Yalta. Ukraine's drone operations have grown increasingly sophisticated and long distance, again raising the suspicions of Moscow that it could be NATO operators behind them.