Kyiv: "Everyone Understands" Why Ukraine Plans to Buy More Drone Boats

Ukraine has not confirmed responsibility for a recent drone boat strike at Sevastopol, but President Volodymyr Zelensky is signaling more to come

An apparent video feed from a drone boat approaching a Russian vessel while under fire, Sevastopol, October 29

Published Nov 6, 2022 2:41 PM by The Maritime Executive

In a hint at suspected Ukrainian involvement in the recent drone boat attack on Russia's Black Sea Fleet, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced the start of a crowdfunding campaign for the construction of "marine drones." 

A Ukrainian journalist released of point-of-view camera footage appearing to show the attack on October 29, and the posts have been viewed by thousands. In his address this weekend, Zelensky suggested that "absolutely everyone understands" why Ukraine might want to raise funds for maritime drones.

“Next week we will launch another fundraising direction – we will be raising funds for a fleet of marine drones," said Zelensky in a video address. "I think absolutely everyone understands what this is and what it is needed for, and I am sure that millions of people will support this direction in our defense. Everyone has already seen how it works."

Zelensky emphasized that the drones are only for protecting Ukrainian waters, and that "we claim nothing that does not belong to us."

The fundraising appeal parallels the Ukrainian government's efforts to crowdfund aerial drones for surveillance of Russian positions along the front line. 

Russia's foreign ministry has accused Ukraine of carrying out the attack using the humanitarian Black Sea Grain Initiative for cover. Separately, Russia's ministry of defense has accused British forces of helping to launch the attack from the Black Sea port of Ochakiv, which is not covered by the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The UK vigorously denies any involvement. 

Last week, Russia released footage of an apparent retaliatory strike on a Ukrainian gunboat (below). Analyst H.I. Sutton noted that Russia has previously captured Ukrainian gunboats of this class (Project 58180 Gyurza), suggesting that the announcement should be viewed with caution before reaching conclusions; both sides of the conflict have released unverified claims of maritime strikes, including some claims which have been proven false

Separately, the previous Ukrainian strike on Russia's Kerch Strait Bridge continues to impede traffic. Three spans of one road bridge deck were destroyed, and the adjacent rail bridge was compromised by the heat of a petroleum rail car fire. Repairs on the road bridge deck are under way, but will likely take through the winter. In the meantime, traffic is restricted to a small number of road vehicles on the surviving road bridge deck and lighter railcars on the damaged rail bridge.