Mykhailo Razvozhayev, Russia’s quisling “governor” of occupied Sevastopol, announced at 2:49 on the night of 24 April that the Russian Black Sea Fleet is repelling an attack by surface drones on the city. As of 04:50, Razvozhzhayev stated that Russian forces from the Anti-Submarine and Diver Defense had shot down one drone while another had allegedly exploded on its own. The so-called “governor” asserted that the neutralization of the drones occurred at the outer raid, and thus no objects in Sevastopol were damaged.
A local Telegram channel reported that two explosions were heard, at 3:31 and 3:44, accompanied by large-caliber machine gun fire in the direction of the sea.
Despite Razvozhzhayev’s claims of no damage done, the Ukrainian portal Defense Express maintains that the attack can be considered successful: at least one drone broke through to the berths of Russian warships in occupied Sevastopol and exploded, as evidenced by a video from a local resident. OSINT-analyst @neonhandrail geolocated footage from the video. The explosion happened in Strilets Bay, where the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s 68th Brigade of Water Protection Ships is stationed.
A Sentinel image from 11 April shows that the Russian military ships were docked at the quay wall, Defense Express reports.
The available video evidence contradicts Russian claims that the attacks happened on an external raid and that there were no losses. As well, the explosion was powerful enough to break windows in a house 900 meters from the impact site, photos shared by local Telegram channels reveal, suggesting that the drone reached its target.
However, it is unlikely that Russian fleet suffered great losses damage from the attack, as the ships were likely only damaged. As well, it is unlikely that any major ships were hit, as the 68th Naval Brigade includes small anti-submarine ships of the 1124M Albatross-M project and various minesweepers. Russia hides the ships that carry Kalibr cruise missiles, including submarines, much deeper in Sevastopol and Yuzhnyi bays, which are protected with booms that aim to repel such attacks.
Over the past several months, a series of naval drone attacks have targeted the Russian naval base in Sevastopol, occupied Crimea. On March 22, 2023, Ukraine allegedly attempted a naval drone attack on Crimea’s Sevastopol, which Russians claimed to have repelled. Subsequent reports indicated that the new Ukrainian drone attacks likely failed to inflict any significant damage on the Russian naval base, but nevertheless constrain Russian military operations.
On 29 October 2022, Ukraine carried out a drone attack on the Russian Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol. Analysts considered the attack to be of great importance, on par with the sinkage of flagship Moskva. The drone attack in October 2022 reportedly led to a decrease in the activity of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.