UKRAINE is claiming to have sunk another Russian warship – with 50 sailors on board – using kamikaze sea drones.
Footage shared today by Ukraine’s ministry of defence showed the dramatic moment its boats sped toward Vladimir Putin’s £55million Black Sea missile ship “Ivanovets” and sent it up in flames.
The Ukrainian government’s defence intelligence announced the hit on the 184ft warship via messaging service Telegram.
It stated: “‘Ivanovets’ at the bottom – as a result of a special operation of the GUR of the Ministry of Defense, an enemy missile boat was destroyed.”
The department alleged soldiers of its special unit “Group 13” destroyed the missile boat of Russia’s Black Sea fleet on Wednesday night while it was sailing across Lake Donuzlav, a bay used for military vessels in the west of occupied Crimea.
Crew members onboard the Russian warship reportedly resisted the attack and shot at the dunes; their fate was not known by Thursday afternoon.
The GUR Ministry of Defence continued: “As a result of a number of direct hits to the hull, the Russian ship suffered damage incompatible with further movement – the ‘Ivanovets’ rolled to the stern and sank.
“According to preliminary information, the search and rescue operation of the Russian occupiers on the Donuzlav was not successful.”
Ukraine estimated the ship was worth up to $70million (£55million).
Russia has not officially confirmed the strike, but pro-Putin war Telegram channels have done so.
One wrote: “We must give credit to the crew. They fought to the last.
“Even after three hits on the ship, you can see how fire is being fired at the naval drone.”
Up to nine drones were believed to have carried out the attack from the sea near Odessa, resulting in what was just the latest in a series of Putin warships sunk by Ukraine.
The supposed attack came after Ukraine unveiled its latest underwater robot drone, a stealth Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) designed to target Russia’s Black Sea fleet, on Sunday.
The Project First Ukrainian Robotic Navy (FURY) drone is still under development but will be capable of carrying mines, torpedoes, and submarine-launched missiles.
It is to be used in a range of missions, possibly including intelligence.
Ukraine has already seen significant success since launching its Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs), which includes that reportedly used in last night’s hit on “Ivanovets”.
Recent footage showed the invisible kamikaze “Sea Baby” drone spit fire at enemy boats, with the same kamikaze drone also responsible for an attack on Putin’s much-beloved £3 million Crimean Bridge.
Pictures from July last year showed a gaping hole left in the bridge from the drone blast.
The “Sea Baby” can carry up to 850kg of explosives and its body is reportedly made from a material invisible to radar systems.
In another major scalp for Ukraine, two of Putin’s most crucial spy planes worth £290million were shot down last month.
One of the Russian dictator’s £260million spy planes disappeared and a £30million bomber jet was set on fire after Ukrainian forces shot them out of the sky above the Azov Sea.
They were blasted out of the air in one of Moscow’s worst days for its air force since Russia’s invasion in 2022.
The IL-22M bomber, worth about £28million, just managed to make its way back to Anapa airport on fire after being hit – with a number of casualties.
But the £260million A-50 spy plane disappeared soon after going on patrol near Zaporizhzhia at 9:10pm on January 14.
Moscow also lost its 12,490 ton missile cruiser, the Slava-class Moskva, when it was hit by a pair of Neptune cruise missiles fired by Ukraine.
Ukraine reportedly harassed the 611ft vessel with a drone as a distraction before striking the ship with two cruise missiles.
Putin still has not released an accurate toll for the losses on the sunken Moskva cruiser, Black Sea flagship.
Several large landing ships have also recently been sunk, including most the Novocherkassk on December 26.
At least 33 sailors are feared dead.