Ukraine says it has sunk another Russian warship in the Black Sea using high-tech drones

Ukraine says it has sunk another Russian warship in the Black Sea using high-tech drones

Wednesday 06/03/2024
Ukraine's defence ministry posted a video purporting to show the destruction of the Russian warship Sergey Kotov.(Supplied: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine)

Ukraine claimed on Tuesday to have sunk another Russian warship in the Black Sea using high-tech sea drones, as Kyiv's forces continue to take aim at targets deep behind the war's front line.

Russian authorities have not confirmed the sinking.

The Ukrainian military intelligence agency said a special operations unit destroyed the large patrol ship Sergey Kotov overnight.

The ship, which Ukraine said was commissioned in 2021 and was hit near the Kerch Strait, can reportedly carry cruise missiles and around 60 crew.

The sinking of such a modern ship would be a significant loss and an embarrassing blow for Moscow, even though there are dozens of other vessels in its Black Sea fleet.

Patrol boats such as the Sergey Kotov are part of Russia's countermeasures against drone attacks, according to an article published last month by the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a US think tank.

The vessels use radar and a helicopter to detect and destroy drones using grenade launchers and heavy machine guns, it said.

Kyiv's forces are struggling to keep the better-provisioned Russian army at bay at some points along the largely static 1,500-kilometre front line, but are also taking aim at targets far beyond the battlefield.

In the Black Sea, Ukrainian successes against enemy warships have pushed the Russian fleet away from the coast, allowing Ukraine to set up a grain export corridor.

The Ukraine defence ministry posted on X, formerly Twitter, a video of what it said was the night-time attack on the Sergey Kotov using Magura V5 uncrewed vessels that are designed and built in Ukraine and laden with explosives.

The Ukrainian claims could not immediately be independently verified, and disinformation has been a feature of the fighting that broke out after Russia's full-scale invasion of its neighbour in February 2022.

The private security firm Ambrey said the attack took place at the port of Feodosia, in Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

Ambrey said it had seen footage taken by a crew member on a merchant vessel in the port, showing the Sergey Kotov firing at the drones.

The ship was hit at least twice, with the second strike resulting in a large blast, the company reported.

Last month, Ukraine claimed it twice sank Russian warships using drones. On February 1, it claimed to have sunk the Russian missile-armed corvette Ivanovets, and on February 14 it said it destroyed the Caesar Kunikov landing ship. Russian officials did not confirm those claims.

Kyiv officials say some 20 per cent of Russian missile attacks on Ukraine are launched from the Black Sea, and hitting Russian ships there is embarrassing for Moscow.

Almost a year ago, the flagship of Russia's Black Sea fleet, the Moskva guided-missile cruiser, sank after it was heavily damaged in a missile attack.

--ICC seeks arrest of Russians over Ukraine attacks

Also on Tuesday, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for two high-ranking Russian military officers on charges linked to attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine between October 2022 and March 2023.

It's only the second time the global court has publicly announced arrest warrants linked to Russia's war in Ukraine.

In March last year, the court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes, accusing him of personal responsibility for the abductions of children from Ukraine.

On Tuesday, the court announced a warrant for Russian Lieutenant-General Sergei Ivanovich Kobylash, the commander of the Long-Range Aviation of the Aerospace Force at the times of the alleged crimes.

Also wanted is Russian navy Admiral Viktor Kinolayevich Sokolov, who was the commander of the Black Sea Fleet.

They are wanted for the war crime of directing attacks at civilian objects — in this case electric power plants and substations — as well as the crime against humanity of "inhumane acts".

Russian forces have repeatedly targeted Ukrainian infrastructure since launching their invasion more than two years ago.

The court said the campaign "qualifies as a course of conduct involving the multiple commission of acts against a civilian population, pursuant to a state policy".

There is little prospect that either of the suspects will be turned over to face trial in The Hague, as Russia isn't a member of the global court, doesn't recognise its jurisdiction and refuses to hand over suspects charged by the court.

The court didn't release details of the warrants, "in order to protect witnesses and to safeguard the investigations", but said it was publicising the warrants in the hope they might "contribute to the prevention of the further commission of crimes" in Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine.

Story By: AP

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