BREAKING: Russian Navy Ship Heavily Damaged by Ukrainian Drone Strike

Early Friday morning, a Ukrainian unmanned surface vehicle (USV) successfully attacked the Russian Black Sea Fleet port of Novorossiysk. The target was the Ropucha-class landing ship (LST) Olenegorski Gornjak. Video shows a damaged LST listing heavily and attended by other vehicles. Video has been released purporting to be from the onboard camera of the USV; I’m dropping it here without any opinion on its authenticity. The Russians claim to have destroyed two USVs, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.


Here are additional videos of a Ropucha-class LST under tow and listing heavily to port, which matches the location of the strike.

The Ropucha-class is a “Landing Ship, Tank” landing ship. It has roll-on/roll-off capability with a shallow draft, that can land tanks nearly on shore.

Novrossiysk is one of the largest ports in the Black Sea basin and one of the two major ports of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Ukrainian USVs have struck at the Black Sea Fleet homeport of Sevastopol several times without inflicting more than fecal incontinence on the Russian Navy, see Ukraine Carries out Extensive Drone Attack on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet Sevastopol HomeportPutin’s War, Week 56. Putin Indicted for War Crimes, Xi Visits Moscow, and Sevastopol Attacked for a Third Time, and Putin’s War, Week 61. Xi Calls, Prigozhin Sounds El Degüello, and Surprise Attacks at Sevastopol, Kherson, and (Maybe) St. Petersburg.


Novorossiysk has not been attacked in the past, which may explain the success of this attack, but the threat of an attack some six months ago led to an order for all ships in port to sortie, see Putin’s War, Week 47. Gerasimov Shakes Up the Russian Army and the Russian Spring Offensive Looms. This attack does represent an increase in the OPTEMPO of USV operations. Last week, Ukrainian USVs attacked two Russian corvettes escorting a Russian-flagged freighter south of Sevastopol; see Putin’s War, Week 75. Putin Cucked, Moscow Droned Again, and the Industrial War Hits High Gear.

The Russians are exercised over the event.

I’ll just repeat this quote from Thursday’s Ukraine update, see Putin’s War, Week 75. Putin Cucked, Moscow Droned Again, and the Industrial War Hits High Gear.

In the words of General Sir Arthur Travers “Bomber” Harris:

The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw, and half a hundred other places, they put their rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind.


The design of Ukrainian USVs has evolved over the last year. But even the older versions have enough hitting power to severely damage any ship they successfully attack.

This kind of low-cost, high-payoff strike has made the Russians devote men and equipment to defending against threats that have mostly psychological and propaganda effects. Anti-aircraft units that could be better used defending railheads and troops assembly areas have been pulled into Crimea to defend Sevastopol.


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