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Ukraine says it sank a Russian warship off Crimea in much-needed victory amid front line losses

Ukrainian forces face major supply shortages
Ukrainian forces face major supply shortages 02:36

Ukraine's military intelligence service said Tuesday that a special operations unit from the war-torn country had managed to sink another Russian warship. The intel agency released a statement early Tuesday morning saying the Russian patrol ship Sergey Kotov was destroyed near the Kerch Strait, off the coast of Russian-occupied Crimea.

It said the ship was sunk in an overnight operation carried out by the "Group 13" special forces unit using Ukrainian-made Magura V5 maritime drones. It estimated the loss to Russia's navy of being in the region of $65 million.

A video posted on social media by Ukraine's military intelligence agency showed what it said was the drone attack on the Russian vessel.

Ukrainian Defence Ministry footage shows what Ukrainian military intelligence said is Russian ship that was damaged by sea drones off Crimea
A still from video released by the Ukraine's military intelligence directorate on March 5, 2024, shows smoke rising from what the agency said was the Russian Black Sea Fleet patrol ship Sergey Kotov after it was critically damaged by a Ukrainian sea drone attack off the coast of Russian-occupied Crimea. Ministry of Defence of Ukraine/Handout/REUTERS

The number of crew who were on board the patrol ship, and their fate, was still being determined, according to Andriy Yusov, a representative of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. He said there were believed to be dead and wounded Russian sailors as a result of the attack.

The patrol ship reportedly had the ability to carry cruise missiles and up to 60 crew members. 

The drone strike came shortly after reports of explosions being heard in the city of Kerch, on the Crimean Peninsula. Social media posts reported that the strategic Crimean Bridge, which connects the peninsula that Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014 with the Russian mainland, was closed for more than eight hours.

The Russian ship previously sustained damage and underwent repairs following a previous maritime drone strike by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in September 2023.

Russia Ukraine War
In this undated photo provided by the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine a Magura V5 Ukrainian multi-purpose unmanned surface boat is seen in Ukraine. Daniyar Sarsenov/Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine/AP

Andriy Yermak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's Chief of Staff, said on Tuesday that the "Russian Black Sea Fleet is a symbol of occupation," adding that it "cannot be in Ukrainian Crimea."

Russian officials did not immediately comment on the reported sinking.

Ukraine said it sank two other Russian warships in February,  a landing vessel called the Caesar Kunikov, also off the coast of Crimea, as well as a missile-armed corvette called the Ivanovets.

Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, Ukrainian forces claim to have destroyed or damaged at least two dozen Russian ships.

But those individual victories at sea come as Russian troops continue advancing, taking new ground, along the long front line that stretches from north to south across eastern Ukraine.

House Intel Committee chair Mike Turner says if Ukraine does not get aid now, "they will lose" 07:08

Ukraine's political and military leaders have beseeched their Western partners for months, begging for more desperately needed ammunition, artillery and other weapons — and warning that without new supplies, they won't be able to keep Russia at bay.

The most urgent request from Kyiv has been for the U.S. Congress to approve a $60 billion additional aid package, which has been held up by partisan gridlock since late last year.

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