Ukraine claims it hit two Russian landing craft in Crimea with sea drones

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Ukraine claimed it hit two Russian landing craft in occupied Crimea with sea drones in an overnight operation, the latest in a series of escalating strikes on the peninsula illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.

The video appears to show two sea drones approaching targets that appear to be landing craft at a dock. The second drone appears to film the first one as it hits the landing craft. As the second drone approaches its target, the video shows what looks like heavy equipment onboard.

“The boats were crewed and loaded with armored vehicles,” GUR claimed in the post on Telegram.

Russia has not officially commented on the incident.

Kyiv has ramped up assaults on occupied Crimea in recent months, in an attempt to undermine Russian forces. In September, the Ukrainian military unleashed a fierce attack on a Russian naval base in Sevastopol, in what was its most destructive strike on the port since the Kremlin launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

The Russian military blogger Rybar said that in the latest attack, a coordinated assault from the air diverted attention, allowing the Ukrainian sea drones to strike.

“The enemy struck the base of the Black Sea Fleet and the Federal Security Service in Chernomorske. They tried to hit the barracks with at least one Neptune anti-ship missile, but the missile landed nearby. Simultaneously, four unmanned boats entered Uzkaya Bay, targeting the Black Sea Fleet boats stationed there,” Rybar said.

The Russian Defense Ministry said its forces intercepted three Ukrainian drones over Crimea in the early hours on Friday. No casualties were reported.

GUR claimed Russia used similar landing craft to those destroyed on Thursday in its occupation of Zmiinyi Island, an uninhabited outpost in the Black Sea between Ukraine and occupied Crimea, at the beginning of its full-scale invasion.

Since Ukraine has ramped up attacks in the Black Sea, Russian naval air defense capabilities have been degraded and such landing craft have been serving as an alternative platform for air defense systems, according to GUR.

“In the conditions of actual lack of shipboard air defense systems after a series of attacks by the Security and Defense Forces of Ukraine, such boats with air defense systems on board served as cover for the invaders’ ships on the Black Sea Fleet raids,” GUR claimed.

The Ukrainian military refocused efforts on striking Crimea after Moscow resumed its siege on Ukrainian ports following the collapse of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July, preventing crucial grain exports and threatening global food security.

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