Ukrainian maritime drones sink Russian corvette Ivanovets in the Black SeaUkrainian maritime drones sink Russian corvette Ivanovets in the Black Sea

Corveta russa Ivanovets, capaz de transportar mísseis, foi afundada por um ataque de drones marítimos, segundo a agência de inteligência militar da Ucrânia.

(DW) Ukraine claimed on Thursday (01/02) to have sunk a Russian warship in the Black Sea, near the Crimean peninsula, with the use of maritime drones.

Ukraine’s intelligence agency, known as GUR, published a video which it says shows naval drones attacking the Ivanovets corvette, which is capable of carrying missiles, on Wednesday night.

In the night vision video, small boats approach the Russian ship, and there are images of a large explosion and the warship sinking.

According to GUR, the ship, which would cost between 60 and 70 million dollars, was on patrol on Lake Donuzlav, west of Crimea, when it was hit by the Ukrainian special unit. Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014 in violation of international law, is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and has been frequently attacked by Ukrainian drones and missiles.

News agencies were unable to independently verify the footage or Ukraine’s account of the incident. Ukraine also claimed that a Russian search and rescue operation following the attack “was unsuccessful”.

Although Moscow made no immediate statement, a Russian Telegram account with links to the Russian army said that Ukraine had attacked the area with nine naval drones at night. Disinformation has been part of the war, which marks its second anniversary on February 24, and many of the reports cannot be independently verified.

The private security company Ambrey said that Ukraine used up to six maritime drones, with each carrying a 300 kg payload of explosives for the attack. A Western military official backed the Ukrainian account, saying it was “highly likely that unmanned surface ships were responsible for the attack on Ivanovets”. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to the AP news agency.

Ambrey noted that any unexploded drone could become a threat to navigation in the Black Sea.

Drones have become the main weapon of war

The head of the Ukrainian army, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, on Thursday called the development of unmanned weapons systems “a central factor of this war” in an opinion piece published by CNN.

Zaluzhnyi’s text was published at a time when rumors are surfacing about his imminent resignation amid an alleged rift with President Volodimir Zelenski.

In it, the general described his assessment of the state of the war and set out the priorities for Ukraine in 2024, as well as addressing the challenge of recruiting more soldiers for the army, a reported point of tension between him and Ukraine’s leader.

“We must recognize the significant advantage enjoyed by the enemy in mobilizing human resources and how this compares with the inability of Ukraine’s state institutions to improve manpower levels in our armed forces without the use of unpopular measures,” Zaluzhnyi wrote.

Another problem, according to him, is the “difficulty of producing ammunition, for example, which further increases Ukraine’s dependence on its allies for supplies”.

The general listed three areas where Ukraine should focus its main efforts in 2024: “Creating a system to provide our armed forces with high technology. Introduce a new philosophy of training and warfare that takes into account resource constraints and how they can be deployed. And to master new combat capabilities as quickly as possible.”

Russian allegations

Meanwhile, Russia’s Investigative Committee, the main state criminal investigation agency, said on Thursday that it had deduced that the Russian Il-76 military transport plane that crashed near the Ukrainian border on January 24 had been brought down using the US-made Patriot air defense system, which the Western allies had supplied to Kiev.

Russian authorities say there were 74 people on board, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war, who were heading for a prisoner exchange with Kiev, six crew members and three Russian servicemen. “Everyone on board died,” said the governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, quoted by the Russian news agency Tass.

The two missiles were fired by the Ukrainian military near the village of Lyptsi in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, according to the committee. The body said that 116 fragments of two MIM-104A missiles, which were fired from the Patriot system, were found near the crash site in the Belgorod region, but did not provide any concrete evidence for its claims.

Civilian deaths continue

Meanwhile, along the front line stretching across eastern and southern Ukraine, the fighting continues to claim civilian casualties. In the eastern Donetsk region, the Russian army shelled 11 towns and villages, killing one person in the village of Tsukuryne on Thursday.

In Toretsk, two people were injured during a rocket attack, the Ukrainian presidential office reported. In the south, six civilians were wounded in the Kherson region, including a couple in Beryslav, who were hit by a drone strike while riding a motorcycle through the town.

lr/bl (ap, dpa, afp) *** Translated by DEFCONPress FYI Team ***

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