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Ukraine intel destroys another Russian navy ship “Sergei Kotov” (updated)

Ukrainian intelligence agency says its unit has sunk the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s patrol ship Sergei Kotov last night near the Kerch Strait, using five Magura V5 maritime drones.
Sergei Kotov, the Project 22160 patrol ship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. File Photo: Russia’s MoD
Ukraine intel destroys another Russian navy ship “Sergei Kotov” (updated)

On the morning of 5 March, the Telegram channel of the Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR) of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry reported that its Group 13 special operations unit destroyed the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s patrol ship “Sergei Kotov” overnight.

The HUR says that the unit has attacked the Sergei Kotov ship using the Magura V5 maritime drones in Ukraine’s territorial waters near the Kerch Strait, which resulted in damage to the vessel’s stern, starboard and port sides. The area where the vessel was attacked is some 800 kilometers away across the sea from Odesa Oblast, which most probably was the launch point for the Ukrainian maritime drones.

According to the agency, the HUR conducted this mission in cooperation with the Ukrainian Navy and with the support of the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine. The HUR noted that the cost of the sunken vessel is about $65 million.

A video posted later by the HUR confirms the destruction of the ship:

Russian sources confirm the attack

Russian milblogger Aleksandr Kots confirmed the attack on the Sergei Kotov, claiming that last night the ship was “fighting off [the Ukrainian Army’s] BEKs (‘crewless cutters’ – the Russian term for unmanned surface vessels, – Ed.) again. The crew heroically fought to the last […] But this time, it’s a story without a happy ending.”

Not the first attack on Sergei Kotov

The patrol ship “Sergey Kotov” has been completely destroyed, according to HUR representative Yusov. He noted that this was not the first time the ship had been targeted; it had previously sustained successful attacks but was subsequently repaired.

Regarding the crew of the Sergei Kotov, Yusov reported casualties and injuries, but some crew members were able to evacuate. He emphasized that the strike on the ship was deliberate, as “five hits do not occur by chance.”

Russian milblogger Kots claimed that the ship thwarted three attacks by Ukrainian USVs in July-September 2023.

Sergei Kotov was a Project 22160 patrol ship

The Project 22160 corvettes like the Sergei Kotov are Russian patrol ships with a displacement ranging from 1,300 to 1,700 tons, a length of 94 meters (308 feet), a beam of 14 meters (46 feet), and a draught of 3.4 meters (11 feet).

These ships are designed for coastal patrol and equipped with missile armament. They typically have a crew of around 28 members, with additional space for up to 60 sailors, depending on the ship’s configuration and mission requirements.

These ships are built for long-duration missions, with the capability to operate autonomously for up to 60 days. They are equipped with various amenities to support the crew’s well-being, including cabins, a sauna, a gym, and a library.

The armament of the class includes Kalibr-NK cruise missiles, an AK-176 76.2 mm dual-purpose naval gun, aerosol camouflage, two grenade launchers, and two machine guns. The ships also feature a helicopter deck and hangar that can accommodate either a Ka-27 or Ka-226 helicopter, a landing speedboat, and provisions for drones, underwater unmanned craft, and unmanned boats.

Besides the sunken Sergei Kotov, there are three more active Project 22160 patrol ships: Vasily Bykov, Dmitry Rogachev, and Pavel Derzhavin, all serving in Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. In addition to the active vessels, two more ships, Viktor Veliky and Nikolay Sipyagin, are currently under construction at the Zelenodolsk Shipyard. They were anticipated to join the Black Sea Fleet before the end of 2023. However, as of now, there have been no reports confirming their completion and commissioning into active service.

Magura drones

In surface drone attacks against the Russians, the Ukrainian Security Service uses its Seababy drones, which the Main Directorate of Intelligence’s weapon of choice is the Magura V5 maritime suicide drone. 

Ukraine’s SeaBaby naval drones can now engage in sea battles, not only carry explosives

For example, the HUR used six Maguras to sink the Russian Navy’s Ivanovets missile corvette in early February 2023. 

Intel chief: Ukraine used six Magura V5 surface drones to sink Russia’s Ivanovets missile corvette

The Magura V5 is a versatile Ukrainian unmanned surface vessel designed for a wide array of tasks, including surveillance, reconnaissance, patrolling, search and rescue, mine countermeasures, maritime security, and combat suicide missions. The 5.5-meter-long maritime drone boasts an operational range of up to 400 km and can carry a payload of up to 320 kg.

Ukraine eliminating Russia’s Black Sea Fleet

On 26 December, Ukraine’s Air Force destroyed the large Russian landing ship Novocherkassk in the port of Russian-occupied Feodosia in Crimea, marking the 16th Russian ship that Ukraine has destroyed or severely damaged since the full-blown invasion in 2022, according to Ukraine’s Navy spokesman.

Since February 2022, Ukrainian forces have destroyed four Russian landing ships, a cruiser, a submarine, a supply ship, several patrol boats, a small landing craft, and two missile corvettes.

The Sergei Kotov patrol ship was initially counted among those 16 as a damaged vessel, but its status has now been updated to destroyed.

Despite lacking a robust navy, Ukraine has effectively challenged the Russian Black Sea Fleet and shifted the balance of power in the Black Sea using asymmetrical tactics. Without significant naval vessels and armed with only a limited supply of domestic Neptune anti-ship missiles, American Harpoons, and Anglo-French SCALP/Storm Shadows, coupled with the development of surface “suicide” drones, Ukraine has managed to take down a substantial number of Russian navy ships, including the Black Sea Fleet’s flagship, Moskva.

Ukrainian missile and surface suicide drone attacks forced Russia to relocate many ships from its Black Sea Fleet’s main base in Sevastopol, occupied Crimea, to ports in Russia located further away from Ukraine.

The British Defense Ministry reported in November that Ukraine’s successful strike on a Russian Askold naval corvette in Kerch in the southeast of occupied Crimea had put Russia’s shipbuilding facilities in jeopardy, with this development potentially leading to Russia’s consideration to relocate the repair facilities farther from the front line, delaying the delivery of new vessels.

Following the Ukrainian missile strike that destroyed Russia’s large landing ship Novocherkassk, Grant Shapps, the British Secretary of State for Defense, noted that Ukraine destroyed 20% of the Russian Black Sea Fleet over four months, which is a remarkable achievement for a country without a significant fleet.


What Russian Black Sea Fleet ships were destroyed by Ukraine


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