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The Ukrainian military has claimed the destruction of another vessel of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, this time the 1,700-tonne Project 22160-class patrol ship Sergei Kotov. As with previous strikes, the attack was conducted using multiple bomb-laden Magura V5 unmanned surface vessels (USVs).

The Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR) of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence stated on its website, “On the night of March 4-5 2024, Group 13, a special unit of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine, attacked the Russian patrol warship Sergei Kotov. The operation was carried out in co-operation with the Navy of Ukraine and with the support of the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine.

“As a result of the strike by Magura V5 marine drone[s],” the HUR added, “the Russian warship Sergei Kotov of Project 22160 suffered damage to the stern, port and starboard sides.

The HUR stated that the ship was attacked “in Ukraine’s territorial waters near the Kerch Strait”, claiming that “the cost of the sunken ship is about USD 65 million [EUR 60 million]”.

Infra-red footage of the attack from the Magura V5 USVs, posted by the HUR on its website and on YouTube, showed the ship suffering multiple explosions.

Infra-red footage from a Ukrainian Magura V5 USV closing in on the Russian Project 22160-class patrol ship Sergei Kotov on the night of 4-5 March 2024. (Image: HUR)

Project 22160-class patrol ships typically have a crew of up to 80, with the HUR claiming that Russian casualties in the Sergei Kotov attack “amounted to seven irrecoverable losses and six sanitary losses [personnel who have lost their combat capability]”. The HUR added that the Russians “probably managed to evacuate 52 crew members who were on the ship”.

The Ukrainian military have now sunk several significant vessels of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

The first significant ship sunk by Ukraine was the Tapir-class landing ship Saratov, which was sunk or scuttled on 24 March 2022 in the port of Berdiansk after sustaining missile damage. Ukrainian forces then famously sank the Russian Slava-class cruiser Moskva using Nepture anti-ship missiles on 13 April 2022.

Air-launched Storm Shadow missiles then destroyed the Ropucha-class landing ship Minsk on 13 September 2023 and struck another Ropucha-class vessel, Novocherkassk, on 26 December 2023, probably destroying the ship.

The Russian Tarantul-class corvette Ivanovets was sunk on the night of 31 January/1 February using bomb-laden USVs, which also accounted for the sinking of the Ropucha-class landing ship Caesar Kunikov on 14 February 2024.

Other major naval vessels, including a ‘Kilo’-class submarine, have been significantly damaged, possibly beyond repair, and numerous smaller vessels sunk.

The Russian Project 22160-class patrol ship Sergei Kotov suffering a major explosion as a Ukrainian Magura V5 USV detonates. (Image: HUR)