Video: Ukraine Sinks Another Russian Warship Using Drone Boats

Courtesy GUR

Published Feb 1, 2024 2:51 PM by The Maritime Executive

Ukraine's military intelligence service claims that it has sunk a Russian missile corvette using suicide drone boats, adding to a growing list of high profile casualties for the Black Sea Fleet.

Security consultancy Ambrey counted as many as six sea drones involved in the attack. According to Ukraine's GUR, the drones successfully and repeatedly targeted the missile corvette Ivanovets as it was operating on Lake Donuzlav, a former enclosed freshwater body that has a narrow opening to the Black Sea. 

A video released by the GUR shows multiple drones approaching under defensive fire from the corvette; some targeted the stern, and at least two appeared to have struck the vessel amidships.

The GUR also recorded a massive blast aboard the ship, possibly a secondary explosion from an onboard magazine or a stowed missile. Ivanovets was fitted to carry up to four Moskit supersonic antiship missiles, each with a 600-pound warhead. 

After multiple direct hits, the vessel "suffered damage incompatible with further movement" and then sank, the GUR said. The final frames of the released video show the warship sinking by the stern, its bow nearly vertical. 

Ukraine Foreign Ministry spokesman Olexander Scherba told the BBC that the ship's crew abandoned ship. 

Ivanovets was a Project 1241 Molniya corvette built during the Soviet era, and one of more than a dozen still remaining in Russian Navy service. At 500 tonnes displacement she was a small vessel, but her powerful antiship missile loadout made her a valuable target. 

Ivanovets launching a Moskit antiship missile in a sinking exercise, 2023 (Russian MOD)

The GUR thanked Ukraine's United24 public donation platform and the Ministry of Digital Transformation for enabling the attack. 

Though challenged by equipment shortages on the battlefield ashore, Ukraine has had considerable success attacking Russia's Black Sea Fleet, both in port and under way. Among many other strikes, in September it destroyed a Kilo-class submarine and a tank landing ship in Sevastopol, then hit the fleet headquarters building with a cruise missile. In October it hit a patrol ship off the coast of Sevastopol; in November it destroyed two small landing ships and a brand new corvette; and in December it destroyed another landing ship, setting off large secondary explosions. In its highest-profile attack, in 2022 Ukraine sank the fleet's flagship, the cruiser Moskva