Ukraine’s MAGURA V5 kamikaze sea drones set off huge explosions at Russia’s Novorossiysk port

Ukrainian naval drones attacked a port in the city of Novorossiysk in Krasnodor Krai, which hosts a naval base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, according to local reports.

Last fall, Russia relocated many of its warships away from annexed Crimea to its Novorossiysk base in Russia’s Krasnodar region as a result of ongoing Ukrainian attacks targeting its vessels, as Kyiv seeks reverse to Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Black Sea peninsula.

Novorossiysk mayor Andrey Kravchenko announced an “attack of unmanned boats” in the early hours of Wednesday morning, while local Telegram channels said residents reported hearing multiple explosions.

“Don’t go outside, especially to the embankment by the sea,” the mayor warned.

Ukraine has ramped up its attacks on Russia’s Navy using its Magura V5 maritime drones in recent months. In May, Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate (HUR) said they had caused $500 million worth of damage to Russia’s naval vessels throughout the war.

The Magura V5 drone is the “main and best weapon available to Ukraine” to target the Black Sea Fleet, HUR spokesperson Andriy Yusov said.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that two naval drones heading toward Novorossiysk were destroyed in the Black Sea.

The local Telegram channel Crimean Wind questioned Moscow’s version of events. It published satellite imagery that purportedly shows fires which broke out at the Novorossiysk port.

“Something is burning at berths #7-12 and at an enterprise located near the port,” the channel said. “Meanwhile, [Russia] reported the destruction of two marine drones in the sea. But for some reason, the fires are on land.”

Satellite images from last October showed that Russia’s fleet was fleeing from Sevastopol in Crimea to Novorossiysk. Ships were also heading to the Russian naval port in Feodosia further east on the annexed Crimean Peninsula.

More recent satellite images from April, shared by open-source intelligence OSINT researcher MT Anderson, appear to show that the Black Sea Fleet has largely abandoned its major Crimean naval bases.

Dmytro Pletenchuk, formerly Ukrainian Navy spokesperson and now spokesperson for Ukraine’s South Defence Forces, said in March that Kyiv’s “ultimate goal is complete absence of military ships of the so-called Russian Federation in the Azov and Black Sea regions.”

A third of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has so far been disabled, he told Ukrainian outlet RBC last month.

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