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Frontline report: Seven Russian warships targeted by Ukraine in just four days, with three destroyed and at least two damaged

In four days, Ukraine attacked at least seven Russian warships in the Black Sea with missiles and drones, destroying three of those – the boat Tunets, the submarine Rostov-na-Donu, and the landing ship Minsk – and damaging at least two Kalibr-NK missile carrying patrol boats.
Damaged Russian warship being tugged in Crimea’s Sevastopol on 16 September 2023. Screenshot from a video published on social media.
Frontline report: Seven Russian warships targeted by Ukraine in just four days, with three destroyed and at least two damaged

Day 570: Sep 16

Today, there are a lot of interesting updates from Ukraine’s south.

First of all, recently, it was confirmed that Ukrainians conducted another series of marine drone strikes on the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

Screenshot from the video.

Russian sources reported that last evening Ukrainians targeted two more missile-launching corvettes: “Samum” and “Askold”. The Russian Ministry of Defense reported that all drones were destroyed by machine gun fire, however, shortly, local residents of Sevastopol filmed a video of how one of the warships is being tugged into the bay, so apparently, not all drones were shot down.

What is even more interesting is that Ukrainians used just one drone to target this warship. Ukrainian Special Operators reported that they tested out an experimental version of the marine drone “Sea Baby”. The released footage from the drone shows how it sets out from Zmiinyi (Snake) Island.

Ukrainian experimental explosive uncrewed surface vessel Sea Baby. Screenshot from the video.

As it turned out, the attack happened when the warship was returning to the bay from patrol. Ukrainians also picked this time because the weather should have deteriorated by that time, and the waves reached up to 2 meters. The experimental drone showed an exceptional capability to operate in stormy weather, which now gives Ukrainians a tactical advantage, as high waves conceal the drone and do not allow Russians to identify and destroy it easily. That is why it took only one drone to hit the ship.

The drone exploded near the stern of the ship, inflicting substantial damage, and the ship lost the ability to move, and started drifting. As can be seen from the footage, the ship also had a significant trim by stern and roll to starboard. Unfortunately for Russians, the boat cannot be repaired in Sevastopol because prior to launching attacks on the Russian Fleet, Ukrainians targeted the only repair facilities in Sevastopol.

Damaged Russian patrol ship. Screenshot from the video.

In total, over the last four days, Ukrainians attacked the Russian boat Tunets, the submarine Rostov-na-Donu, the assault landing ship Minsk, and four missile-launching ships: Vasiliy Bykov, Sergey Kotov, Samum, and Askold. Two of them managed to get away intact, two more were noticeably damaged, and three more were destroyed.

Seven Russian Navy vessels attacked by Ukraine within four days in September 2023. Screenshot from the video.

According to Forbes, the total value of destroyed Russian equipment exceeds 34 billion dollars. Over the last few days, Ukrainians added to that at least two more billion, which is a clear testament to the success of the operations conducted in the Black Sea.

By the way, today, it was confirmed that the United States provided Ukraine with 3D printers that are capable of maintaining a large-scale production of various details, including those used for building the new generation of marine kamikaze drones.

Large 3D printer. Screenshot from the video.

The Ukrainian Minister of Innovation and Technologies announced that from now on, Ukrainians will be able to attack the Russian Black Sea Fleet with higher frequency and more potency. As he succinctly said, I guarantee that there will be more drones, more attacks, and fewer Russian ships. When he was asked about the estimates, he said by the end of this year, the number of drone attacks will increase by 120 to 140 times compared to the previous year. The minister said that they are working on implementing artificial intelligence into drones so that in case of losing signal, the drones are able to identify and destroy the target themselves.

CGI image showing a next-generation AI-powered Ukrainian maritime drone. Screenshot from the video.

The Head of the Foundation “Return Alive” recently gave an interview and commented on the recent drone strikes. He said that the Russian invasion triggered an urgent development of the Ukrainian military-industrial complex, and now Ukrainians have several competing firms that produce various types of kamikaze drones. He said that they are constantly developing new tactics that leverage the strengths of the vessel and try to eliminate any shortcomings.

Stratcom: Ukraine damages two Russian patrol ships in the Black Sea

He said that right now, the biggest shortcoming is that drones are not hard to destroy if they are detected in a timely manner. And while the ships may have some troubles, especially in less-than-perfect weather conditions, helicopters destroy such drones with ease.

Right now, Ukrainians are working on developing a new generation of drones that can deploy smokescreens and other methods for complicating aiming for the enemy, and in prospect, the drones will have weapons as well that can target the ships from a distance and return to the base.

The current level of drone technologies has already reduced Russian control over the Black Sea significantly. Russian forces continue sending patrol ships to monitor the area, however, with time, the losses of ships will accumulate, and with no facilities to repair them on the spot, the Russian Fleet will be forced out of the sea.

In our daily frontline report, we pair up with the military blogger Reporting from Ukraine to keep you informed about what is happening on the battlefield in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

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