In a bold escalation of hostilities in the already tense Black Sea region, Ukraine has claimed responsibility for a daring sea drone attack on a Russian naval base. This audacious move has left a Russian warship severely damaged and listing heavily, as striking visual evidence emerges, sending shockwaves through international waters.
The incident unfolded in the early hours of Friday, as dramatic videos began circulating on social media platforms. The footage depicted a Russian warship, the Olenogorsky Gornyak, in a damaged state, listing to the side near the Novorossiysk naval base. This visual confirmation starkly contrasted with earlier assertions by the Russian defence ministry, which had confidently declared that the attack had been successfully repelled.
Details surrounding the attack paint a picture of precision and determination. A Ukrainian source revealed that a sea drone laden with a staggering 450 kilograms of TNT was the weapon of choice. The strike targeted the Olenogorsky Gornyak, a substantial amphibious Russian landing ship, which reportedly had around 100 Russian servicemen on board at the time. The aftermath of the attack has left the vessel incapacitated, unable to perform its designated duties.
A riveting video clip provided to CNN showcased the calculated approach of an unmanned sea drone as it closed in on the Russian warship. This 36-second footage, recorded from the drone’s perspective, offers a glimpse of the high-stakes operation. The video concludes as the drone seemingly reaches its target, leaving viewers to grasp the audacity and precision of the assault.
The sea drone attack is believed to be the result of a joint effort between the Security Service of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Navy. The collaboration underscores the meticulous planning and execution that went into this operation. However, conflicting reports emerged from the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti, which asserted that the port of Novorossiysk was operating normally after the alleged UAV attack. Despite these assertions, compelling imagery of the stricken warship tells a different story.
The attack on the Russian warship comes against a backdrop of escalating tensions in the Black Sea region. Russia’s recent withdrawal from a crucial grain deal, coupled with renewed blockades on Ukrainian ports and relentless bombardment of critical infrastructure and grain storage facilities, have contributed to an already precarious situation.
This latest incident is not Ukraine’s first foray into targeting Russian naval assets in the Black Sea. In April 2022, Ukraine claimed responsibility for the sinking of the flagship guided-missile cruiser Moskva using anti-ship cruise missiles. With the development of its sea drone program, Ukraine has fortified its capacity to surveil and engage with Russia’s fleet in the Black Sea and on the contested Crimean peninsula.
Access granted to CNN at a sea drone base sheds light on the technological strides made in this domain. The advanced versions of these unmanned vessels boast an impressive operational range of 500 miles, capable of attaining speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. In significant military operations, sea drones played a pivotal role, including a July attack on the Kerch Strait Bridge. The destruction of a section of the bridge disrupted a crucial supply route for Russian forces.
Developers of the sea drones emphasized the strategic advantage of these vessels, which prove challenging for conventional naval tracking mechanisms to detect and intercept. Their small size and exceptional speed render them evasive targets, complicating defence strategies in the Black Sea region.
As the international community grapples with the ramifications of this audacious sea drone attack, the incident underscores the evolving nature of modern warfare and the critical role technology plays in reshaping military dynamics. The Black Sea, once a historical crossroads of civilizations, is now a contemporary theatre of geopolitical tensions, with the latest episode highlighting the volatility that has come to define the region.