Ukraine claims to have destroyed “one of the most modern” warships in Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, in the latest naval drone attack, which has seen Ukraine disable 25 Russian ships since Moscow invaded in February 2022.

Ukraine said on Tuesday that it destroyed another Russian military vessel in the Black Sea, in the latest naval attack on Moscow’s fleet in the key waterway.

Ukraine is flexing its ability to hit Russian targets from the air and at sea, while its troops struggle to hold ground on the front lines.

The Black Sea has been a vital battleground since the war started just over three years ago.

Ukrainian forces claim to have destroyed more than two dozen Russian ships since Moscow invaded in February 2022, including several in recent weeks.

Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence unit on Tuesday released a black and white video showing what it said was the overnight attack.

The footage showed a naval drone approaching the side of the Sergei Kotov — a 94-metre (308-foot) Russian military patrol boat — before a large explosion can be seen sending fire, smoke and debris into the sky above the vessel.

Ukraine’s navy said explosive-packed drones had hit the ship near the Kerch Strait off the Crimean peninsula, causing “damage to the stern, starboard and port sides”.

“As for the crew, the details are being clarified. There are dead and wounded. But it is likely that some of the crew managed to evacuate,” military intelligence spokesman Andriy Yusov told local media.

There was no official response from the Russian defence ministry but Russian military bloggers with close ties to the armed forces confirmed the strike.

Some were scornful of the Russian navy’s inability to defend itself.

The ship, which was launched in 2021, had already been severely damaged in a strike last year, Ukraine’s Yusov said.

Ukraine’s navy said it was “one of the most modern” vessels in the Russian fleet.

Kyiv has claimed a string of successes in the Black Sea, at a time when its army, faced with ammunition and manpower shortages, is struggling on land.

It says it has disabled at least 25 Russian vessels since Moscow invaded — more than a third of the pre-war Black Sea fleet.

With AFP