The Hamilton Spectator

Sea drones hit Russian warship

Moscow alleges Patriot missiles downed its plane


Ukraine claimed Thursday it used sea drones to sink a small Russian warship in the Black Sea as Russian investigat­ors alleged its military transport plane that crashed last month was brought down by two U.S.-made Patriot missiles fired by Kyiv’s forces.

Ukraine’s military intelligen­ce agency, known as GUR, published a video that it said showed naval drones assaulting the Russian missile-armed corvette Ivanovets on Wednesday. The footage released on GUR’s social media purports to show multiple naval drones crashing into a vessel and exploding. According to GUR, the ship costing between $60 million and $70 million (U.S.) was on patrol on Lake Donuzlav in western Crimea, when a GUR special unit struck it.

Disinforma­tion has been part of the war, which marks its second anniversar­y on Feb. 24, and it was not possible to independen­tly verify either side’s claims.

Private security firm Ambrey said Ukraine used up to six sea drones, each of which usually carry 300 kilograms of explosives, in the attack. The footage showed the ship was sinking. A western official backed the Ukrainian account, saying it was “highly likely that uncrewed surface vessels were responsibl­e for the strike on the Ivanovets.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s Investigat­ive Committee, the main state criminal investigat­ion agency, said Thursday it deduced that the Russian Il-76 military transport plane that crashed near the border with Ukraine on Jan. 24 was downed using the U.S.-made Patriot air defence system, which western allies have supplied to Kyiv.

Russian officials claimed there were 74 people on board, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war, six crew members and three Russian servicemen. All were reported killed. The two missiles were fired by the Ukrainian military from near the village of Lyptsi in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine, it said.

The committee said 116 fragments of two MIM-104A missiles that were fired from the Patriot system were found near the crash site in the Belgorod region. It produced no physical evidence for its claims.

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