Putin loses £51million warship as Ukraine sinks vessel overnight

Putin loses £51million warship as Ukraine sinks vessel overnight

WATCH: Official Ukrainian channels posted dramatic footage of the attack

James Saunders

By James Saunders

Published: 05/03/2024

- 15:12

The ship had been ‘upgraded to a submarine’, Ukraine’s defence ministry joked

A Russian patrol ship has been destroyed off the coast of Crimea after being attacked by Ukrainian sea drones in another blow to Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

The ship – the £51million-valued Sergey Kotov, a Project 22160 patrol vessel – was struck by several of Ukraine’s Magura V5 naval drones, according to Ukrainian military intelligence service Gur.

The service said the Sergey Kotov “suffered damage to the stern, right and left sides” before it sank near the Kerch Strait in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

A Gur spokesperson, Andriy Yusov, said: “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.”

Another Project 22160 with video insets of the Sergey Kotov sinking

Ukraine posted videos of the Sergey Kotov's destruction, shown here alongside a similar Project 22160 ship

Ukraine MoD/Russian MoD

In a statement on social media, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence said: “+1 Russian ship was upgraded to a submarine.

“Tonight, military intelligence’s special unit, ‘Group 13’, attacked the patrol ship of the Russian Black Sea fleet… Nice start of the day! Great job, warriors.”

Ukrainian Navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk said “right now, this ship is on the seabed” and claimed a helicopter may have sunk alongside it.

While Ukrainian intelligence official told Radio Svoboda that Russian sailors on board the vessel had been injured or killed.


Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky will no doubt feel emboldened by the attacks


Gur posted videos showing the Sergey Kotov firing at Ukrainian drones before large explosions rocked the ship, as well as ‘first-person’ footage from the naval drones.

Andriy Yermak, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Chief of Staff, said: “The Russian Black Sea Fleet is a symbol of occupation. It cannot be in the Ukrainian Crimea.”

Official Russian sources have not yet commented on the ship’s sinking, but military bloggers confirmed there was “no happy end” for the Sergey Kotov, despite having fended off three attacks in the past – including one in September 2023.

Ukraine said the vessel was involved in the attack on Snake Island at the beginning of the Russian invasion in 2022 alongside the Moskva, which sank in April of the same year.

Ukraine claimed its naval drones damaged the Kerch Bridge on two separate occasions


The Russian Navy had been planning to order six more Project 22160s since 2014, but disappointment with the ships’ performance throughout the Ukraine war pushed it to abandon the class.

Ukraine has heavily relied on naval drones throughout the war, even claiming they had been used in attacks on the Kerch Bridge in 2022 and 2023.

Western sources estimate Ukraine has destroyed around a fifth of Russia’s Black Sea fleet since February 2022 – and the sinking of the Sergey Kotov will only embolden Ukraine’s navy.

But the naval success sits before an uneasy background: a week of sabre-rattling by Nato and Russian leaders has seen tensions rise and tempers flare – especially after German military phone calls were intercepted, revealing British troops had been on the ground in Ukraine to deliver missiles to defending forces.

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