Ukraine destroyed state-of-the-art Russian air defences in Crimea and captured two key towns near the eastern city of Bakhmut in the 82nd week of the war.
Ukrainian forces may also have put three modern Russian warships out of action, demonstrating an increasing ability to attack enemy assets at range while maintaining the momentum of their territorial gains.
Sea drones attack
Ukraine appears to have used naval drones to mount two separate attacks on Russian warships on September 14.
Ukraine’s Strategic Command claimed it struck two of Russia’s Vasily Bykov Project 22160-class patrol ships causing unspecified damage. The Ukrainian government released video footage of the Vasily Bykov, commissioned in 2018, firing at a surface drone as it apparently closes in for attack.
Russia’s defence ministry said only that its Black Sea Fleet had “destroyed two unmanned semi-submersible boats… in the southwestern part of the Black Sea”, belonging to Ukraine.
Separately, the Ukrainska Pravda news outlet reported that a naval drone had caused damage to the rear starboard hull of a Bora-class guided missile corvette, the Samum, near the entrance to Sevastopol port, forcing it to be towed for repairs “with a roll to starboard”.
“For this attack, the SBU [Ukraine’s secret service] used an experimental model of a marine drone, which is capable of operating in a storm, hiding from detection behind high waves,” Ukrainska Pravda reported. “During the special operation, the height of the waves reached 1.5-2 metres,” the news outlet added.
Russia’s defence ministry said the Samum had successfully defended itself and destroyed the “unmanned naval boat”, but photographs circulated online showed the Samum being towed by two tugboats.
A day later, Ukraine reportedly attacked another Russian patrol boat, the Askold, with unknown results.
Phillips O’Brien, professor of strategic studies at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, called the attack on the Samum “one of the most well executed and planned operations of this war so far”, adding, “Ukraine is not only holding its own in the seapower war – it is actually winning it”.