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Budanov: Only '60-70%' of deployed Ukrainian maritime kamikaze drones destroyed by Russia

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 24, 2023 6:17 PM 2 min read
An image of the SeaBaby naval drones released by the Security Service of Ukraine in August 2023. (Photo: Security Service of Ukraine)
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Russian forces on average only manage to destroy 60-70% of Ukrainian kamikaze drone boats before they reach their target, Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said on Aug. 24.

In an interview to Krym.Realii, Budanov, who called the new weapons "very effective," explained that Russia faces "serious problems" with the 30% of sea drones that its forces do not manage to destroy.

The intelligence chief added that in some cases, Russian defenses destroy a drone next to a ship, which means the vessel is so damaged it must undergo "long-term repairs."

On Aug. 4, Russia claimed that two Ukrainian sea drones were destroyed while attacking a naval base in Russia's Novorossiysk.

While Moscow claimed there was no damage as a result of the attack, videos showed the ship listing heavily to one side as tugs towed it away for repairs.

Though he did not say how many naval drones Ukraine deploys or has at its disposal, Budanov revealed that Ukraine is now able to mass produce such drones.

Ukraine is not making "one or two in garages," he said. "Mass production is underway."

In an attempt to protect the Crimean Bridge from naval drone attacks, the Russian military has been sinking boats in the Kerch Strait to form a barrier, Ukraine's military intelligence said on Aug. 22.

When asked if this would create an obstacle for Ukrainian sea drones, Budanov replied "let them sink."

Ukraine is aware of the Russian military's "habit of sinking something somewhere and [thinking] this will somehow help," he added.  

Budanov explained that the drones are not just important for attacks, but also for deterrence.

This sentiment echoed the words of Southern Command spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk on Aug. 18, who reported that Russia has dispersed its naval forces in the Black Sea between the southeastern coast of Crimea and Novorossiysk in fear of Ukrainian drone strikes.

On Aug. 15 that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) claimed responsibility for the July 17 attack on the Crimean Bridge, using a new experimental martime drone nicknamed "Sea Baby."

"Sea surface drones are a unique invention of the Security Service of Ukraine," Vasyl Maliuk, head of the SBU, told CNN. "No other private companies are involved."

On Aug. 17, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed a Ukrainian naval drone had attempted to attack Russian ships in the Black Sea but was allegedly destroyed.

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