Russian Black Sea ship Sergey Kotov sunk after drone strike, says Ukraine

Kyiv’s military intelligence unit says it sank the patrol ship Sergey Kotov near the Crimean peninsula.

Ukraine claims to have destroyed a Russian military patrol boat near the annexed Crimean peninsula.

The country’s military intelligence unit, GUR, said on Tuesday that it had hit the Sergey Kotov with drones. It reported that the patrol ship had sunk, making it the latest victim in a series of attacks on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Posting on the Telegram messaging app, GUR said that the vessel was destroyed by special unit Group 13 near the Kerch Strait, which sits between Crimea and Russia.

The military intelligence unit published a video on social media, claiming that the grainy footage depicted the ship being downed.

It was not the first time Ukraine had attacked the ship, reportedly worth $65m. However, this time, the overnight strike caused critical “damage to the stern, starboard and port sides”.

Military intelligence spokesman Andriy Yusov said the strike had left some dead and wounded, but it was likely some crew members had managed to evacuate.

In an apparent reference to the attack, the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said on Telegram that Russia’s Black Sea Fleet – based in the peninsula’s port of Sevastopol – is “a symbol of the occupation,” adding that, “it cannot be in Ukraine’s Crimea”.

There has been no official response from the Russian defence ministry.

Strategic battleground

The Black Sea has become an increasingly important battleground of Russia’s two-year invasion.

In recent months, Ukraine has mounted a series of attacks on the Black Sea Fleet, pushing Russia’s ships out of the western waters to help free up a key export route.

In February, the Caesar Kunikov landing ship was hit off the southern coast of Crimea. Later the same month the missile-armed corvette Ivanovets was shown on Ukrainian military footage sinking stern-first below the waves.

On land, the adversaries remain largely bogged down on the front line in eastern Ukraine and continue to swap cross-border air attacks, as well as clandestine operations targeting infrastructure.

On Monday, Ukraine hinted that it was behind an attack on a railway bridge in the Russian region of Samara, with military intelligence boasting that the attack had “paralysed’ traffic in the area.

On Tuesday, a military intelligence source in Kyiv told AFP that Ukraine had carried out an attack on an oil depot in the Belgorod border region setting storage tanks ablaze.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies