Ukraine’s kamikaze sea drone sunk Russian minesweeper Kovrovets

Armed forces in Ukraine have destroyed a Russian minesweeper ‘Kovrovets’ in the Black Sea overnight, according to reports.

The Kovrovets, a sea minesweeper, was destroyed overnight according to the latest update from Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces posted on Telegram. The attack likely took place off the coast of occupied Crimea, where much of the Russian navy’s Black Sea fleet was stationed, although an exact location has not been confirmed.

The ship was crewed by 68 individuals and falls under the Project 266 Akvamarin class, also called the Yurka class by NATO. Designed in the former Soviet Union, the ship was capable of detecting mines at depths of up to 150 meters and was equipped with two 30mm AK-230M naval guns and a high-resolution Lynx radar system, according to a report by the Kyiv Independent.

The fate of the crew, if any were onboard at the time of the attack, was not specified in the update, but more than 1,000 Russian losses on Saturday have been claimed by Ukraine. The update also does not clarify what weapons were used to destroy the Kovrovets.

“Another bad day for the Russian Black Sea fleet,” Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter. “Great job, warriors!

Russia’s Black Sea fleet has proved particularly vulnerable throughout the course of the war so far. According to Legion Magazine, a third of the fleet – in excess of 20 vessels – are believed to have been sunk either or disabled in the 27 months since the invasion began in February 2022.

“The most vulnerable turned out to be patrol boats and landing craft, indicating the high effectiveness of Ukrainian defense means,” open source intelligence agency Molfar reported in March this year. “The losses of large landing ships and frigates diminish the aggressor’s capability to conduct large-scale maritime operations, having long-term strategic consequences for the Russian fleet.”

Earlier this year, Kremlin forces moved much of the fleet from its usual base in Sevastopol “due to an increased risk of Ukrainian strikes”, the U.K Ministry of Defense observed in March. Novorossiysk port, in the north east of the Black Sea coast, “now serves a crucial role in sheltering the Black Sea fleet’s most valuable assets,” the British government department said. Ukraine has vowed to reverse the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

In the May 19 update, Ukraine also said it had killed 1,210 Russian personnel on Saturday, May 18, as well as destroying “16 tanks, 35 armored combat vehicles, 48 artillery systems, three anti-aircraft guns, two air defense systems, 47 operational-tactical UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], one missile, 82 vehicles and two units of special equipment.”

Russia has not confirmed the loss of the ship, nor the number of casualties and other equipment losses reported by Ukraine.

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