Ukraine claims its sea drones sank Russian warship

(Validated UGC video via AP)
(Validated UGC video via AP)

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine claimed Thursday, Feb. 1. 2024, it used sea drones to sink a small Russian warship in the Black Sea as Russian investigators alleged that a Russian military transport plane that crashed last month was brought down by two U.S.-made Patriot missiles fired by Kyiv's forces.

Ukraine's military intelligence agency, known by its Ukrainian acronym GUR, published a video that it said showed naval drones assaulting the Russian missile-armed corvette Ivanovets on Wednesday night.

The footage released on GUR's social media purports to show multiple naval drones crashing into a vessel and exploding. According to GUR, the ship costing $60 million-$70 million was on patrol on Lake Donuzlav in western Crimea, when a GUR special unit struck it. The lake has been more of a bay since 1961, when a channel connecting it to the Black Sea was dug out.

Disinformation has been part of the grinding war, which marks its second anniversary on Feb. 24, and it was not possible to independently verify either side's claims.

The private security firm Ambrey said Ukraine used up to six sea drones, each of which usually carry 300 kilograms of explosives, in the attack. The GUR footage showed the ship was sinking.

Russian officials made no immediate comment on the Ivanovets.

A Western official backed the Ukrainian account, saying it was "highly likely that uncrewed surface vessels were responsible for the strike on the Ivanovets." The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence.

Ukrainian attacks on Russian aircraft and ships in the Black Sea have helped push Moscow's naval forces back, allowing Kyiv to increase crucial exports of grain and other goods through its southern ports.

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