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Military intelligence: Russia's Sergey Kotov patrol vessel destroyed near Crimea

by Kateryna Denisova and Dinara Khalilova March 5, 2024 8:43 AM 3 min read
Russia's Sergey Kotov patrol ship. (X/open sources)
Russia's Sergey Kotov patrol ship. (X/open sources)
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A patrol ship from Russia's Black Sea Fleet, Sergey Kotov, was hit and destroyed in an overnight attack orchestrated by Ukraine's military intelligence agency (HUR), the agency said on March 5.

Reports of the attack on the Russian vessel came after nighttime explosions on the occupied peninsula, amid which the Kerch Bridge was shut down. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that 38 drones had been destroyed over Crimea.

Several Ukrainian media outlets reported earlier today that the Russian vessel was hit by Ukrainian naval drones.

According to Ukraine's military intelligence, the Project 22160 patrol ship suffered damage to its stern and on its left and right sides. Sergey Kotov was reportedly located near the Kerch Strait when it was attacked by domestically-produced Magura V5 naval drones.

"The cost of the sunken ship is about $65 million," the agency wrote.

According to the statement, the operation was carried out in cooperation with Ukraine's Navy and the Digital Transformation Ministry.

Andrii Yusov, a military intelligence spokesperson, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) that the fate of the ship's crew is being clarified.

"There are killed and wounded, but there is a possibility that some of the crew managed to evacuate," he noted.

Later, Ukrainian military intelligence said that seven Russian sailors were killed, six injured and 52 crew members could have been evacuated, according to preliminary data.

In a conversation allegedly intercepted by HUR, a Russian commander claimed that the Russian patrol ship had a helicopter on board. Ukrainska Pravda reported, citing unnamed sources, that a Russian Ka-29 transport and combat helicopter was destroyed along with the vessel.

The Russian Defense Ministry did not comment on the reported attack.

Sergey Kotov has already reportedly been hit by naval drones along with another patrol ship, the Vasiliy Bykov, in September 2023. The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that the vessels allegedly managed to repel the attack.

In total, Russia's Black Sea Fleet has four vessels of this design, which the Ukrainian Navy calls "the most modern:" Vasily Bykov, Pavel Derzhavin, Sergey Kotov, and Dmitry Rogachev. Only the latter has not been attacked during the all-out war.

These are the most important Russian ships destroyed by Ukraine
One of the most unexpected developments of the full-scale invasion was how many big, expensive Russian ships were taken out by Ukraine, a country that technically has no navy. Around 20% of Russia’s Black Sea fleet has been destroyed as of December 2023, according to National Security and Defense

Such ships can perform various tasks at sea, including guarding base points, Ukrainian navy spokesman Dmytro Pletenchuk told RFE/RL, saying that their destruction can have a significant impact.

U.K. Defense Minister Grant Shapps commented on the attack on Sergey Kotov, saying that "the Black Sea is not safe for Putin’s Navy."

"Until recently, that would have been unimaginable. Now because the West backed Ukraine, it’s undeniable," Shapps said on X (formerly Twitter).

"If we get them what they need, the bravery & skill of the Ukrainian Armed Forces can unlock victories once thought impossible."

Sergey Kotov is one of a number of Russian ships reported by Kyiv to have been hit. On Feb. 14, the Russian landing ship Caesar Kunikov was sunk in the Black Sea after being attacked by Ukrainian naval drones.

Ukraine has repeatedly struck Russia's Black Sea fleet since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, including the sinking of the flagship cruiser Moskva in April 2022 and a devastating missile attack on the fleet's headquarters in occupied Crimea that reportedly killed more than 30 officers.

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