Watch: Russian Warship Thwarts Attack By Ukrainian Drone Boats Off Turkey
A Russian warship protecting pipelines in the Black Sea was attacked by unmanned Ukrainian speedboats on Wednesday, according to a Russian Defense Ministry (MoD) press briefing.
The attack occurred northeast of the Bosporus and close enough to Turkey to be within its Exclusive Economic Zone, but the MoD said the Russian naval ship Ivan Khurs repelled the attack and released dramatic video showing Ukrainian boats being fired upon and destroyed while inbound at a high rate of speed.
The Russian MoD reports that all three of the Ukrainian drone boats, that attempted a strike on the Ivan Khurs ship of the Black Sea Fleet, were destroyed pic.twitter.com/22dQY7nii7— RT (@RT_com) May 24, 2023
The attack is rare given the proximity to the Bosporus and the fact that usually such hostile encounters occur closer to Ukrainian and Russian ports, which suggests the war could be expanding to other parts of the Black Sea and region, which also marks a further threat to the survival of the UN and Turkey-brokered grain deal that was recently extended another two months.
In an official statement, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov described that the Russian warship is patrolling the area to protect the Turkish Steam and Blue Stream gas pipelines, vital for gas transport from Russia to Turkey. He said extra military protection measures were required in the wake of the Nord Stream bombings last year.
"After the terror attack on the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines on September 26, 2022, the Russian Armed Forces are carrying out measures to protect such facilities," Konashenkov said.
"All enemy boats were destroyed by fire from the standard armament of a Russian ship 140 km northeast of the Bosphorus," he added, referencing the incident near Turkey.
However, there's been speculation that one of the sea drones may have made it past the Russian warship's sustained fire and hit the hull of the Ivan Khurs.
Questions are being raised based on unverified video which emerged, presumably from the Ukrainian side, and is now circulating online...
⚡️#BREAKING Footage from one of the unmanned boats that attempted to strike the Ivan Khurs ship near the Bosphorus yesterday.— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) May 25, 2023
This tells us that the ship is most likely damaged. pic.twitter.com/IxDdvZAZ32
The Russian claims to have fully thwarted the attack continue to be disputed in Western press accounts, as Sky News underscores:
Military analyst Sean Bell explains why it’s difficult to verify the footage released by the ministry and what it could mean.
Sky News has not been able to independently verify the footage, which shows a small boat powering through the water while under fire. One of the shells hits the craft, creating a huge explosion.
Russia blamed Ukraine and there was no immediate comment from Kyiv.
But what is certain is that Ukrainian intelligence and military have lately stepped up brazen cross-border sabotage attacks targeting Russian infrastructure, such as oil and defense facilities.
⚡️Photo of the Ivan Khurs SRK entering Sevastopol reportedly after the attack by Ukrainian kamikaze boats.— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) May 25, 2023
It appears to be undamaged, or not damaged enough to affect its performance. pic.twitter.com/INi5DfQXt9
Early this week there was also a deadly raid on the Russian border region of Belgorod, which killed one Russian civilian and injured many more. Gas pipelines have also been targeted throughout the conflict.