Ukraine war: Drone attack sinks Russian ship, kills seven, Kiev says

  • By Thomas Mackintosh
  • BBC News

image source, Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

image caption,

Footage released by Ukraine purportedly shows Sergei Gotto damaged by drones

Seven people were killed and six others injured when a Russian patrol boat was hit and sunk by a maritime drone attack, Ukrainian intelligence said.

Sergey Godov was allegedly attacked in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Ukraine's military intelligence service reported that the Black Sea Fleet vessel suffered heavy damage to both the right and left sides.

The Kremlin has yet to comment, but some Russian bloggers confirmed the sinking of Sergey Godov.

The BBC was unable to independently verify the extent of the damage to the ship.

In a Telegram post, Ukraine's Main Intelligence Directorate (HUR) said 52 personnel had been evacuated.

Sergey Godov is one of four patrol vessels completed for the Russian Navy's Project 22160. It previously attacked Ukraine in September last year.

“Now the ship is at sea,” said Ukrainian Navy spokesman Dmytro Bledenchuk, adding that a helicopter may have been on board.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine had “proved what we can do” against Russia's navy and air force, but did not directly mention the sinking.

“There are no safe havens for Russian terrorists in the Black Sea, and there never will be,” he said in his late-night video address on Tuesday.

Moscow was annexed by Ukraine in 2022.

Ukraine said the sinking of the Sergei Godov, worth $65m (£51.2m), was hit near the Kerch Strait, which separates Crimea from Russia.

A video posted on social media appears to show the moment the vessel collided.

UK Defense Secretary Grant Shabbs shared the video, noting that “the Black Sea is not safe for Putin's navy”.

“Until recently it would have been unthinkable. Now that the West is supporting Ukraine, it cannot be denied,” he said.

“If we get what they need, the bravery and skill of the Ukrainian Armed Forces will unlock victories once thought impossible.”

BBC Verify has seen a video released by Ukraine of what it says is an attack.

The vessel has similar structural features to the patrol vessel of the same class as the Sergej Koto. However, no number is visible on its side, so the footage does not make it clear if it is the same ship.

No other versions of the video appear in reverse image searches, suggesting the video was recently released.

HUR also released a recording by the commander of the Russian Navy's 184th squadron, responsible for Sergei Koto, that the ship was attacked by five drones.

At least 13 Russian naval vessels have been destroyed or damaged since the beginning of the conflict, according to the International Strategic Studies think tank.

Last month, another Russian ship, the Caesar Kunikov, was sunk by a drone strike south of Yalta.

Separately, Ukraine claimed responsibility for a drone strike on an oil depot in the Russian border region of Belgorod on Tuesday.

Kyiv also said Ukrainian air defenses shot down 18 of 22 Iranian-designed attack drones launched by Russia over the Black Sea port city of Odessa.

Additional reporting by Joshua Cheetham.

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