This is the moment that Ukrainian jet ski commandos launched a raid that struck at the heart of Vladimir Putin’s naval stronghold.
In the dead of night, twenty frogmen loaded up with guns, grenades and rockets embarked on a daring mission inside occupied Crimea, which Russia has spent years turning into a fortress.
Over a month of training and preparation was put into the high-risk assault with the aim to destroy a military headquarters.
Footage shows the brave serviceman from the Brotherhood Battalion revving up their jet skis before setting out across the water on an almost impossible mission they didn’t believe they would survive.
As their boots hit the ground, they were the first Ukrainian troops to set foot on Russian-occupied Crimea in almost a decade.
The elite group was backed up by five Ukrainian support vessels that were storming along the coast bombarding it with machine gun fire and rockets as a distraction.
The raiders’ target was a powerful electronic warfare station that had been jamming Kyiv’s missiles and blacking out entire GPS systems, leaving their troops to operate using the stars.
However, as the team neared their target a Russian machine gunner rained down bullets on them and they had to abandon their original plan to plant explosives inside.
“We decided to simply destroy the control centre from a distance with anti-tank weapons, damage the antennas and withdraw, which we succeeded in,” the battalion’s commander, Borghese, told The Times.
Back on their jet skis they made a terrifying dash across a wide stretch of water to reach their evacuation ship, which the Russians had already started to target by sea and air.
The boat had to pull out, leaving the commandos alone to plough through a hundred miles of bumpy seas with part of Putin’s Black Sea fleet hot on their tails.
For several hours, a battle raged between the team’s support vessels who were launching anti-aircraft missiles at the Russian warplanes circling above.
All of the assault group made it back alive.
Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, Lieutenant-General Kyrylo Budanov had asked them to raise their country’s flag to remind Russia that they could be hit anywhere, anytime.
Kyiv has made it their mission to turn Crimea from a once safe territory into an active war zone that is regularly hit by a barrage of missiles and kamikaze drone attacks.
In a spectacular feat, Ukraine managed to blitz Putin’s Black Sea fleet headquarters in a fiery missile attack last week that killed dozens of officers.
To make sure the strike had succeeded, Kyiv followed the first strike with a British-supplied Storm Shadow missile, which hit the already-burning building in Sevastopol.
The strike marked one of the most significant Ukrainian attacks of the entire war after last year’s sinking of the fleet’s flagship, the Moskva cruiser.
The bunker-busting missiles have proved a nightmare for Putin as they can blast targets up to 350 miles away that have long been out of reach for Ukraine.
They are credited with crippling strikes on bridges as well as pummelling warships, ammunition dumps and other military targets on the peninsula.
Earlier this month, Ukraine unleashed at least ten of Storm Shadow missiles alongside drones in a massive assault on Russia’s powerful Black Sea fleet.
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