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Ukraine Sinks Another Russian Warship in the Black Sea

Published Mar 5, 2024 3:54 PM by The Maritime Executive

Ukraine's military intelligence division, the GUR, has claimed another success in its campaign to target the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The patrol vessel Sergei Kotov was hit by multiple Ukrainian drone attack boats and sunk, according to the Ukrainian armed forces.

The attack reportedly took place overnight March 4-5, at a position near the Kerch Strait. This area is hundreds of nautical miles to the east of Ukrainian-controlled shores, and has generally been considered a safer operating region for Russian forces than the western Black Sea. 

According to the GUR, the Kotov was hit on the port and starboard sides, and on the stern as well. The agency claims that the attack killed seven people and injured six more. 52 survivors were evacuated. 

"There are no safe havens for Russian terrorists in the Black Sea and nor will there be," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a congratulatory address Tuesday night. 

The GUR said that its units used the fifth version of its Magura suicide attack drone, an updated variant of the rapidly evolving platform. The Magura V5 was also responsible for the sinking of the landing ship Caesar Kunikov last month. Ukraine has had more tactical success with explosive drone boats than any other operator to date, and with little more than a year of development effort. 

Ukraine's claim could not be immediately verified, and the Kremlin has not commented. There are indirect signs that the video is legitimate: independent Russian war journalists have confirmed the sinking, and UK defense secretary Grant Shapps reshared the footage on social media with a statement that "the Black Sea is not safe for Putin's navy." The footage is also similar to a previously-released video of the sinking of the Kunikov

The attack is the latest in a long string of successful Ukrainian attacks on the Black Sea Fleet, and the tally now stands at 13 warships damaged or destroyed, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (some sources put the number even higher). Other notable targets include the submarine Rostov-on-Don, the corvette Ivanovets and the cruiser Moskva.