Ukraine: We Sank Russian Warship Using Sea Drones

Russia has yet to confirm the demise of the Caesar Kunikov amphibious vessel
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 14, 2024 6:39 AM CST
Ukraine Claims It Sank Russian Warship Off Crimea
A Russian ship named Caesar Kunikov passes through the Dardanelles strait in Turkey on Oct. 4, 2015.   (Burak Gezen/DHA via AP, File)

Ukraine's military said Wednesday it sank a Russian landing ship in the Black Sea using naval drones, a report that hasn't been confirmed by Russian authorities. The Caesar Kunikov amphibious ship sank near Alupka, a city on the southern edge of the Crimean Peninsula that Moscow annexed in 2014, Ukraine's General Staff said. It noted the ship can carry 87 crew members, per the AP. Sinking the vessel would be another embarrassing blow for the Russian Black Sea fleet and a significant success for Ukraine 10 days before the second anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022. Ukraine has moved onto the defensive in the war, hindered by low ammunition supplies and a shortage of personnel, but it has kept up its strikes behind the largely static 930-mile front line.

It's the second time in two weeks that Ukrainian forces have said they sank a Russian vessel in the Black Sea. Last week, they published a video that they said showed naval drones assaulting the Russian missile-armed corvette Ivanovets. Ukraine's military intelligence agency, known by its Ukrainian acronym GUR, said its special operations unit "Group 13" sank the Caesar Kunikov using Magura V5 sea drones on Wednesday. Explosions damaged the vessel on its left side, it said, though a heavily edited video it released was unclear. The same unit also struck on Feb. 1, according to officials. The private intelligence firm Ambrey said the video showed that at least three drones conducted the attack, and that the ship likely sank after listing heavily on its port side.

The Caesar Kunikov was likely part of the Russian fleet escorting merchant vessels that call at Crimean ports, Ambrey said. Ukrainian attacks on Russian aircraft and ships in the Black Sea have helped push Moscow's naval forces back from the coast, allowing Kyiv to increase crucial exports of grain and other goods through its southern ports. The Russian military didn't immediately comment on the claimed sinking, saying only that it downed six Ukrainian drones over the Black Sea overnight.

(More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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